Maharashtra's border dispute with Karnataka needs to be approached aggressively, and all parties must unite to bring back the Marathi-speaking region into the state, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray today said at a meeting with the top leaders of the ruling alliance.
"CM Thackeray said this matter needs to be taken up aggressively. To bring back the Marathi speaking region of Karnataka into Maharashtra, all parties in the state need to come together and appeal to the centre," a tweet by the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) in Marathi said.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, Mr Thackeray's main ally in the state, also attended the high-level meeting, sources said.
Maharashtra claims certain areas, including Belgaum, Karwar and Nippani, which are part of Karnataka. The state argues that most of the population in these areas speak Marathi.
The two states have been fighting the case over the dispute in the Supreme Court for several years.
Mr Thackeray, the chief of the ruling Shiv Sena that is known for raising issues linked to Maratha pride, at a separate event today, attacked Karnataka over its proposal to make Belgaum its second capital.
"When the case is being heard in the Supreme Court, the Karnataka government renames Belgaum, declares it as its second capital, constructs a Legislature building and holds one legislature session there. Isn't this contempt of court?" Mr Thackeray was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
He said the "Karnataka-occupied Marathi-speaking areas" should be declared a Union Territory until the Supreme Court gives its verdict on the dispute.
"Let's take a pledge that we will not rest till we win. If the long pending issue is not resolved during this (MVA) government's tenure, it will never be," he added.
Earlier this month, Mr Thackeray had tweeted that "bringing Karnataka-wide Marathi-speaking and cultural region to Maharashtra will be a tribute to the soldiers who were martyred in this border war."
Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa had called his remark "obnoxious".
"The statement of Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's speech on the integration of Marathi language and culture into Maharashtra is obnoxious. This is contrary to the principles of the Indian Union," he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
With inputs from agencies