Mumbai: Amid simmering tension between Karnataka and Maharashtra over the border issue, Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) leader Sanjay Raut on Wednesday sparked a fresh controversy by saying, “We will enter Karnataka like China has entered the country”.
The senior leader of the party said that he did not need anyone’s “permission” regarding the issue.
“Like China has entered, we will enter (Karnataka). We don’t need anyone’s permission. We want to solve it through a discussion but Karnataka CM is igniting a fire. There is a weak government in Maharashtra and is not taking any stand on it,” Sanjay Raut said.
The leader’s statement has come at a time of heightened tension between Maharashtra and Karnataka over a decades-old border conflict and the issue is listed to the Supreme Court.
However, Eknath Shinde’s government is facing criticism over the issue and an uproar by the opposition in the ongoing winter session of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly.
Leader of Opposition Ajit Pawar raised the issue of the border dispute earlier in the Assembly and said “A Lok Sabha member from Maharashtra has been stopped from entering Belgaum. In a meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah it was decided that no one would be stopped from going there, then how can the collector there take such a decision.”
Responding to the issue raised by Pawar, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde said, “For the first time the Home Minister of the country mediated the border dispute, he has taken this issue seriously, we have presented the side of the border residents to him, Amit Shah has had put forth his point in front of the border dispute, now there should be no politics on the border dispute, we should stand together with the border residents.”
Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis aligned with CM Shinde’s remarks and said that the government will look into the matter.
Tension prevailed in the border areas of Belagavi on the Maharashtra Karnataka border after members of the Maharastra Ekikaran Samiti (MES) and Nationalist Congress Party staged a protest on Monday demanding they be allowed into Belagavi.
Belagavi Police denied permission to MES to conduct its Maha Melava at the Vaccine Depot ground in Tilakwadi and clamped prohibited orders in Tilakwadi Police Station jurisdiction.
Section 144 has been imposed in the area and heavy security was deployed at the site of the MES convention which was scheduled to take place on the first day of the Winter Session of the Karnataka Assembly today.
The border dispute between Maharashtra and Karnataka goes back to the implementation of the State Reorganization Act, of 1956. The then Maharashtra government had demanded the readjustment of its border with Karnataka.
Following this, a four-member committee was formed by both states. The Maharashtra government had expressed willingness to transfer 260 predominantly Kannada-speaking villages, but the proposal was turned down by Karnataka.
Both governments later approached the Supreme Court to expedite the matter.