Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Monday urged politicians of Maharashtra not to use language bogey or border issue for their political survival, as he made it clear that the state will not give even an inch of its land to the neighbouring state. Noting that several Kannada speaking areas were in Maharashtra, he said the thinking is on about incorporating them into Karnataka.
He was responding to Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar’s statement on Sunday that they would continue to support the fight of Marathi-speaking people residing in border areas of neighbouring Karnataka to include those places in Maharashtra. “There is a political crisis in Maharashtra, it is there now, their entire government is on the rock bottom, so they create a language bogey and raise the border issue. To survive politically they do this,” Bommai said.
Speaking to reporters here, he said, Karnataka’s stand on the border issue is very clear, and the state is not going to yield for anything. “We stand firmly by our decisions, they (Maharashtra) also know it. I strongly urge the politicians of Maharashtra not to use language bogey or border issue for their political survival,” he said, adding that there is no question of giving even an inch of Karnataka’s land.
Maharashtra claims the border district of Belagavi and nearby areas were part of the erstwhile Bombay Presidency, but is currently a part of Karnataka, on linguistic grounds. “While we are celebrating 62 years of formation of Maharashtra, we regret that the Marathi-speaking villages in Bidar, Bhalki, Belgaum, Karwar, Nippani and other places in Karnataka could not be merged with Maharashtra. The citizens of Maharashtra and its government are with their fight to be part of Maharashtra. I assure that we would keep supporting their fight till these villages become part of Maharashtra,” Pawar had said on the occasion of Maharashtra’s foundation day on Sunday.
The Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (MES), which has been fighting in the border areas of Belagavi for the merger of 800-odd villages with Maharashtra, had also some time ago submitted a memorandum of their demands to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. On its part as an assertion that Belagavi is an integral part of the state, Karnataka has built the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha, modelled on the Vidhana Soudha, the state secretariat in Bengaluru, where the legislature session is held once a year.