Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister Lakshman Savadi said Mumbai should be a union territory.
- Make Karnataka's Marathi-speaking areas union territory: Uddhav Thackeray
- Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister said Mumbai should be a union territory
- Supreme Court has been hearing the matter for several years
A decades-old border dispute between Maharashtra and Karnataka spun off into a firestorm of political bickering on Wednesday with claims and counterclaims between the two states. Hitting back at Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray for raising the issue at a public event with a demand for the disputed areas to be carved out into a union territory till differences are resolved, Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister Lakshman Savadi said that Mumbai should be included in his state or at least be devolved into a federally governed province as well.
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"We condemn the Maharashtra Chief Minister's statement. We are confident that things will be in our favour in the Supreme Court. The people of our region demand that we have been part of Mumbai-Karnataka (region), so we too have our right on Mumbai," Mr Savadi said.
"Until it (Mumbai) is made part of Karnataka, I urge the central government to make it a union territory," he said, adding that the 1967 Mahajan Commission's report - which was welcomed by Karnataka but rejected by Maharashtra - was "final".
Earlier in the day, Mr Thackeray led a meeting with ministers of the Maharashtra government and ally Sharad Pawar. He accused Karnataka of appropriating the Belgaum district to by changing its name to 'Belgavi' even though the matter is in court, and threatened to make it a part of Maharashtra.
"Despite the matter being in court, the Karnataka government deliberately changed the name of the disputed region to Belgavi. They made Belgaum the second capital where they also held an assembly session. Here, we think about the law but Karnataka does not. We will bring that part in Maharashtra for sure if we all come together," said Mr Thackeray.
He said that given the atrocities on Marathi-speaking people in disputed border areas, his government will request the Supreme Court to declare the disputed part as a union territory till the matter is in court.
Mr Thackeray had on January 17 too had said his government is committed to incorporating into the state the areas of Karnataka where Marathi-speaking people are in majority.
His statements were opposed by the Congress in Karnataka which is an ally in Maharashtra. "Maharashtra CM is trying to instigate Kannadigas by releasing a controversial book on the Belagavi border dispute. His frequent frivolous acts to rake up controversies do not befit his position as CM," Congress leader and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah tweeted.
The dispute between Maharashtra and Karnataka began after the States Reorganisation Act of 1956 made Belgaum and 10 talukas of Bombay State - once part of colonial Bombay Presidency - a part of the then Mysore state. The issue has been pending in the Supreme Court for several years.
Maharashtra has long claimed certain areas which are currently part of Karnataka, including Belagavi, Karwar and Nippani, contending that the majority of the population in these areas is Marathi-speaking.
Karnataka, on the other hand, maintains that Belagavi is an integral part of the state and has built the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha, modelled after the Vidhana Soudha, the state secretariat in Bengaluru, where a legislative session is held once a year.
(With inputs from agencies)Post a comment