Tension is escalating between Maharashtra and Karnataka governments over territorial claims on certain villages as leaders of both States vehemently raised their voices to secure the contentious areas.
Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that no villages in the State would go to Karnataka. “Our government will fight strongly in the Supreme Court to get Marathi-speaking villages in Karnataka, including Belgaum, Karwar and Nipani,” he said.
Terming Mr. Fadnavis’s statement ‘provocative’, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, in a series of tweets, said the former’s dream would never come true. “Our government is committed to protecting our State’s land, water and borders. He said that there was no question of giving up any space in the border districts of Karnataka. “We demand that the Kannada-speaking areas of Maharashtra like Solapur and Akkalkot should join Karnataka.”
Further, Mr. Bommai said that since 2004, the Maharashtra government had filed a case in the Supreme Court over the border issue. “So far they have not succeeded and they will not succeed in future as well. We are ready to make our legal fight strong,” he tweeted.
Earlier this week, he had claimed that 40 villages in Jat Taluka of Sangli district in Maharashtra had passed a resolution in the past to merge with Karnataka.
Reacting to Mr. Bommai’s statement, Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar said if Belgaum, Karwar and Nipani were given to Maharashtra, then they would discuss merging villages of Jat taluka in their State.
“If the Karnataka government is ready to leave Belgaum, Karwar and Nipani to us, then it will be possible to discuss what can be given to them. There was a demand to merge 40 villages of Jat in Karnataka when there was a severe drought situation and acute drinking water crisis, but now the situation has changed,” he said.
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray too lashed out at Mr. Bommai over the inter-State border dispute and asked whether it was the official stand of the BJP’s leadership.
“Without the support of top leadership, Mr. Bommai will not dare to make such a nonsense statement. Will Chief Minister Eknath Shinde respond at least now,” he asked.
Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, Ajit Pawar, asked Mr. Shinde and Mr. Fadnavis to “give a strong answer” to Mr. Bommai and sought the Centre government’s intervention in the issue.