After Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s speech on the integration of Marathi-dominated areas of Karnataka into Maharashtra, Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa on Monday, 18 January censured the Maharashtra CM, saying that his speech was “obnoxious” and against the principles of the Indian Union, ANI reported.
“Regionalism and talk of linguistics are detrimental to the unity of the country. I condemn this. In Karnataka, the Marathas are living with Kannadigas. While the Kannadigas in the border districts of Maharashtra are living with the Marathas,” he said.
‘Incorporation Will be a True Tribute to Martyrs of the Cause’
CM Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday had said that his government is committed to incorporating the areas of Karnataka where Marathi-speaking people are in majority into Maharashtra, reported news agency Press Trust of India.
The Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said in a tweet said the incorporation will be a true tribute to martyrs of the cause. In Maharashtra, 17 January is observed as 'martyrs' day' in memory of those who laid down their lives for the cause of reunification in 1956.
"Bringing Karnataka-occupied Marathi-speaking and cultural areas in Maharashtra will be the true tribute to those who accepted martyrdom in the boundary battle. We are united and committed towards it. Respects to the martyrs with this promise," the CMO tweeted.
Belagavi and some other areas, where Marathi is spoken predominantly, have been claimed by Maharashtra on linguistic grounds. While Belagavi was formerly part of the Bombay State, it was merged with the Mysore State (later Karnataka) at the time of the reorganisation of States in 1956.
In 2019, Thackeray had referred to Belagavi and its nearby areas where people chiefly speak Marathi as ‘Karnataka Occupied Maharashtra’. The dispute between the two states over Belagavi and other border areas is pending before the Supreme Court for many years.
Maharashtra ministers Eknath Shinde and Chhagan Bhujbal were appointed as co-coordinators last year to oversee the state government’s efforts to expedite the case related to the boundary dispute.
We Won’t Give an Inch of Land: Karnataka CM
Reacting to the statement earlier, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa had said: “It’s unfortunate, I condemn the statement. We're not going to give even an inch of land from this side.”
The Leader of the Opposition, too, took over Uddhav, saying Belagavi is an integral part of Karnataka. “Don't try to instigate us by bringing up the issue which is already resolved,” he tweeted.
“Mahajan report is final with respect to Belagavi border issue. Uddhav Thackeray, don't try to politicize the issue which is already decided. You are not just a Shiv Sena activist. Don't forget that you are also a responsible Chief Minister,” he added.
In district headquarters of Belagavi and elsewhere in Karantaka, protests erupted in on Monday after Thackeray’s statement. Demonstrations led by Pro-Kannada organisations that saw the burning of Thackeray’s effigy were also held in parts of the state.