Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan on Tuesday took an aggressive stand on the Maharashtra-Karnataka border dispute, demanding that the area should be put under Central rule till a final decision is taken.
As the ruling and opposition parties joined hands to pass a unanimous resolution on the issue in the assembly, Chavan also slammed the Centre over the affidavit filed by the Ministry of Home Affairs in the Supreme Court.
“The voice of the 865 villages is being politically suppressed. Political might is being used to suppress the aspirations of the people. We will ask the Prime Minister to declare these areas as Union Territory,” Chavan said in the Legislative Council while replying to a discussion.
His aggressive stand is a result of the Centre’s affidavit in response to a petition filed by the Maharashtra government in Supreme Court, staking claim on 865 Marathi-majority villages in three districts of Karnataka.
The Centre has rejected the state’s claim.
On Wednesday, an all-party delegation led by Chavan will meet PM Manmohan Singh in New Delhi in this regard. Terming the affidavit as unfair to Maharashtra, Chavan told the state assembly that he felt it was filed at a solely official level, without seriously considering the issues involved.
“The affidavit said that language is not the sole criterion and the State Reorganisation Act had a more balanced approach. That’s not right.
Language is not the sole criterion but it is the main criterion and the state will maintain that,’’ the CM said. The Centre’s act has become a major embarrassment for the ruling Congress and Chavan has been struggling to counter the Opposition’s attack over the sensitive issue.
Chavan’s statement was a prelude to an unusual scene in the assembly that normally witnesses high-pitched battles between the ruling and opposition over almost every issue.
The assembly unanimously passed a resolution requesting the Centre to amend its stand on the Maharashtra-Karnataka border dispute. A day after the two sides came together on the James Laine issue, on Wednesday it was a show of unity on the border dispute.