Declare disputed area Union Territory: Thackeray on Maha-K’taka border row
While raking up the Maharashtra-Karnataka border row, chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday demanded the disputed area be declared a Union Territory until the Supreme Court’s final verdict is announced.
The chief minister said that it was a “now or never” battle for Maharashtra and the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government was committed to resolve it by including the disputed areas in the state.
Since the formation of Maharashtra, the two neighbouring states are in a dispute over Belgaum and other areas where Marathi-speaking people reside in large numbers. Maharashtra has staked its claim on these areas and the issue is pending with the Supreme Court.
While Maharashtra and the Marathi-speaking people in the disputed border areas have been peacefully fighting their battle, the Karnataka government has been suppressing their voice with arrogance, said Thackeray on Wednesday while speaking at Sahyadri guest house after releasing a Marathi book, Maharashtra Karnataka Simawad : Sangharsh Ani Sankalp (Maharashtra-Karnataka Border Dispute : Struggle and Resolve). Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, state Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat, state ministers Chhagan Bhujbal, Eknath Shinde, leader of opposition in legislative council Pravin Darekar shared the dais. Former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis did not attend the function.
“When the issue is pending in the apex court, the Karnataka government changed the name of Belgaum, set up their second capital there. A Marathi-speaking mayor was booked under sedition for taking the pro-Marathi stand. This is nothing but the oppression of the Marathi-speaking citizens in the border areas. This leads to the contempt of court. There is need to declare the disputed areas as Union Territory to restrain the Karnataka government from this unilateral action,” he said.
Thackeray said that the suppression against the Marathi-speaking people at the border areas continues irrespective of which political party rules the Karnataka.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar said that the pending petition in the apex court was the last resort for Maharashtra to bring the disputed areas of Belgaum, Karwar and Nipani into the state. He said that a certain section of political leadership in Karnataka has portrayed a false picture that Maharashtra was adamant over its stand despite Mahajan Commission’s report against it. Pawar said that the misconceptions needed to be weeded out to make the ground favourable for the battle.
Thackeray is also chairing a meeting of the high power committee reconstituted to take state’s legal battle on the issue forward later in the day.