BSY hits back at Thackeray for remarks on including Marathi-speaking areas in Maharashtra

Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa. File   | Photo Credit: Sampath Kumar G.P.

A day after Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray spoke about integrating “Karnataka-occupied Marathi- speaking and cultural areas into Maharashtra”, Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa on Monday slammed the former for “displaying regionalism and linguistic chauvinism”, and reiterated that the Mahajan Commission report on the border issue is final.

The tweets of Mr. Thackeray from the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) handle and those of Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Sunday drew criticism from across political spectrum in Karnataka with several leaders calling it an equivalent of “Chinese expansionist attitude”.

Taking serious exception, Mr. Yediyurappa hit back and said that Mr. Thackeray’s statement smacks of arrogance. “Display of regionalism and linguistic chauvinism will hurt the integrity of the nation. I condemn this. Maratha speakers have integrated well with Kannadigas in Karnataka and similarly Kannada-speaking people in the border districts of Maharashtra have integrated with Marathas,” Mr. Yediyurappa tweeted in response.

In the tweet on Sunday, Mr. Thackeray said that his government was committed towards incorporating into the State the areas of Karnataka where Marathi speakers are majority, and that it would be a “true tribute” to the martyrs of the cause. “Bringing Karnataka-occupied Marathi speaking and cultural areas to Maharashtra will be the true tribute to those who accepted martyrdom in the boundary battle. We are united and committed towards it. Respects to the martyrs with this promise,” the CMO had tweeted.

The tweet coincided with Martyrs’ Day observed on January 17 by the Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti and other organisations as a mark of respect to those who laid their life to the cause. Mr. Pawar also tweeted: “Greetings to all the knights in the border struggle for a united Maharashtra on the occasion of Martyrs’ Day! Until the last Marathi village in Karnataka reaches Maharashtra, it will be a true tribute to the martyrs of the border war.”

Accusing Mr. Thackeray of trying to break the harmony between Kannadigas and Marathas, Mr. Yediyurappa said: “It’s painful that such an effort is happening from the Maharashtra Chief Minister. As an Indian, Mr. Thackeray should show commitment to the federal structure of the country.”

Incidentally, tension between the two States over the boundary issue has come up again at a time when Kannada Chaluvali leaders have bitterly opposed the formation of the Maratha corporation for the welfare of Marathas in the State. Leaders Vatal Nagaraj and others had pointed to the border row to urge the government to rescind on the decision to form the corporation, which is touted to be a political decision ahead of the bypolls in Belagavi Lok Sabha constituency, and Maski and Basavakalyan Assembly constituencies, where Marathas are sizeable electorates.

This is second instance triggered by the Maha Vikas Aghadi headed by Mr. Thackeray after it came to power in November 2019. In the first week of December 2019, Mr. Thackeray appointed Ministers Chhagan Bhujbal and Eknath Shinde as coordinators to monitor the case in the Supreme Court related to the boundary issue with Karnataka, and had raised the issue on the floor of the Maharashtra Assembly. Tension prevailed in border areas on both sides, especially in Belagavi in Karnataka and Kolhapur in Maharashtra, with public transport between the two States being suspended. Skirmishes had also been reported.

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Printable version | Mar 7, 2021 9:18:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/yediyurappa-condemns-uddhav-thackerays-statement-on-border-towns/article33600496.ece

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