Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Saturday, 13 March, alleged that Marathis residing in Karnataka’s Belgaum district are being victimised. He added that an all-party delegation from Maharashtra should visit the city to resolve the ongoing stand-off, reported PTI.
“If the situation goes out of hand, the Shiv Sena and the Maharashtra government shouldn’t be blamed as the response would not be official, but political,” the Sena’s Rajya Sabha member said.
Raut also blamed the Centre for the ongoing tension in Belgaum, stating that the ruling BJP party is focusing only on places where the BJP is contesting elections and “turning a blind eye” to the developments in Belgaum.
“No one from the BJP is talking about it. The Shiv Sena can also respond in equal measure, but we don’t want to create a rift between the two states. The Centre must intervene,” he added.
The decades-old border dispute between Maharashtra and Karnataka caught fire again in January, with Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray suggesting that the disputed areas be consolidated and turned into a Union territory until the problems are resolved.
“What has happened is in the past. Now, we must fight and win. We shall have to work for this in a time-bound manner,” said Thackeray, who is also the president of the Shiv Sena, which has been espousing the cause of the Marathis in the border areas since its incumbency.
While Thackeray accused the Karnataka government of deliberately changing Belgaum’s name to Belagavi, even threatening to take the matter to court, Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister Lakshman Savadi condemned the statements made by the Shiv Sena top brass and said that Marathi people in Belgaum are like Kannadigas in the state.
(With inputs from PTI)