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Why the Karnataka-Maharashtra Border Row Has Put BJP in a Tight Spot?

The border row has triggered calls for dismissal of the CM Shinde-led government and resignation of CM Bommai.

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The two Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled state governments of Karnataka and Maharashtra are again in a tug-of-war over 865 border villages, triggering calls for dismissal of the Eknath Shinde-led government in Maharashtra and resignation calls for Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai.

On Thursday, 16 March, CM Bommai urged the Maharashtra Cabinet to withdraw its decision to implement a health insurance scheme in the 865 villages. Bommai warned that his government too could stake claim in Maharashtrian villages.

With the border row escalating again, Karnataka Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah, on Wednesday, asked, "Is the Government of India dead?" and asked the Centre to urgently intervene.

This comes barely months before the Karnataka Assembly elections. So, what triggered the row again? What is the dispute all about? We explain.

Why the Karnataka-Maharashtra Border Row Has Put BJP in a Tight Spot?

  1. 1. What Triggered the Row Again?

    The border row surfaced again after the Maharashtra government announced implementing the 'Mahatma Jyotibha Phule Jan Aarogya Yojana' (MJPJAY) in 865 villages which belong to Karnataka as per Mahajan Commission report.

    MJPJAY eases cashless medical treatments to needy patients at 1,000 government-empanelled hospitals for around 996 types of diseases, surgeries and therapies.

    The annual expense of the scheme is around Rs 1,400 crore. The addition of the 865 dispiuted-villages will further cost Maharashtra Rs 54 crore.

    While the decision was taken in a Cabinet meeting in early March, there was no response from the Karnataka government.

    Seeing how the Shinde-government was staking claim to the villages, Opposition Congress condemned the move and sought the resignation of CM Bommai for "failing" to protect the interests of the state.

    But how did the 60-year-old dispute begin, click here for an overview of the border dispute.

    Expand
  2. 2. What Happened Earlier?

    While the dispute is not new, it had cropped up just three months ago, giving rise to tensions in Belagavi, and resulting in Union Home Minister Amit Shah meeting CMs of both states, though in vain.

    There were three key factors that led to the escalation in December last year:

    • Eknath Shinde formed a committee of three ministers to pursue the dispute legally.

    • Bommai, in retaliation, staked claim in Kannada-majority villages in Maharashtra's Jath region in a bid to assert regional dominance

    • Opposition parties in both states upping the ante against the respective BJP+ governments over claims and counter-claims by both sides

    While the case is in Supreme Court, the two BJP-ruled states are in a war-of-words again, causing major embarrassment to the central government.

    Expand
  3. 3. What Has the Opposition Said?

    Upping its attack on the Bommai government, Karnataka LoP Siddaramaiah said on Wednesday, "Is the Government of Karnataka dead? This is not fair in the federal system, And it's not a good thing. So I demand that the central government should interfere immediately. Senior leader of Shinde government are giving statements. Repeatedly they are doing such mischievous activities. So I demand the Central government should dismiss this Eknath Shinde government. It's a threat to the government of India and its federal system."

    Further, demanding Bommai's resignation, he said, "Our CM miserably failed to protect the interest of the state and to protect the interests of the Kannadigas. He has no right to continue as CM. So I demand his resignation."

    Finally responding on the controversy, CM Bommai said on Thursday:

    “The (Maharashtra) Cabinet decision to provide health schemes is an unpardonable offence...We too can announce such schemes. Many taluks and grama panchayats have passed resolutions to be part of Karnataka as there was no justice for them in Maharashtra. In such a situation, the Maharashtra government should behave responsibly. I condemn their Cabinet decision."

    Bommai pointed out that in December, during a meeting chaired in Delhi by Amit Shah, both states had agreed to wait till the Supreme Court decided on the dispute.

    Stating that both the sides were asked to stop all provocations, he said, “This (agreement) is violated. The order should be withdrawn soon.”

    Meanwhile, Maharashtra minister Shambhuraj Desai announced on Thursday that Amit Shah has again called on both the CMs to "find a compromised solution."

    While it remains to be seen if the Supreme Court can even resolve the issue, Maharashtra government's health scheme is surely proving to be unhealth for the saffron party.

    (At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

    Expand

What Triggered the Row Again?

The border row surfaced again after the Maharashtra government announced implementing the 'Mahatma Jyotibha Phule Jan Aarogya Yojana' (MJPJAY) in 865 villages which belong to Karnataka as per Mahajan Commission report.

MJPJAY eases cashless medical treatments to needy patients at 1,000 government-empanelled hospitals for around 996 types of diseases, surgeries and therapies.

The annual expense of the scheme is around Rs 1,400 crore. The addition of the 865 dispiuted-villages will further cost Maharashtra Rs 54 crore.

While the decision was taken in a Cabinet meeting in early March, there was no response from the Karnataka government.

Seeing how the Shinde-government was staking claim to the villages, Opposition Congress condemned the move and sought the resignation of CM Bommai for "failing" to protect the interests of the state.

But how did the 60-year-old dispute begin, click here for an overview of the border dispute.

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What Happened Earlier?

While the dispute is not new, it had cropped up just three months ago, giving rise to tensions in Belagavi, and resulting in Union Home Minister Amit Shah meeting CMs of both states, though in vain.

There were three key factors that led to the escalation in December last year:

  • Eknath Shinde formed a committee of three ministers to pursue the dispute legally.

  • Bommai, in retaliation, staked claim in Kannada-majority villages in Maharashtra's Jath region in a bid to assert regional dominance

  • Opposition parties in both states upping the ante against the respective BJP+ governments over claims and counter-claims by both sides

While the case is in Supreme Court, the two BJP-ruled states are in a war-of-words again, causing major embarrassment to the central government.

0

What Has the Opposition Said?

Upping its attack on the Bommai government, Karnataka LoP Siddaramaiah said on Wednesday, "Is the Government of Karnataka dead? This is not fair in the federal system, And it's not a good thing. So I demand that the central government should interfere immediately. Senior leader of Shinde government are giving statements. Repeatedly they are doing such mischievous activities. So I demand the Central government should dismiss this Eknath Shinde government. It's a threat to the government of India and its federal system."

Further, demanding Bommai's resignation, he said, "Our CM miserably failed to protect the interest of the state and to protect the interests of the Kannadigas. He has no right to continue as CM. So I demand his resignation."

Finally responding on the controversy, CM Bommai said on Thursday:

“The (Maharashtra) Cabinet decision to provide health schemes is an unpardonable offence...We too can announce such schemes. Many taluks and grama panchayats have passed resolutions to be part of Karnataka as there was no justice for them in Maharashtra. In such a situation, the Maharashtra government should behave responsibly. I condemn their Cabinet decision."

Bommai pointed out that in December, during a meeting chaired in Delhi by Amit Shah, both states had agreed to wait till the Supreme Court decided on the dispute.

Stating that both the sides were asked to stop all provocations, he said, “This (agreement) is violated. The order should be withdrawn soon.”

Meanwhile, Maharashtra minister Shambhuraj Desai announced on Thursday that Amit Shah has again called on both the CMs to "find a compromised solution."

While it remains to be seen if the Supreme Court can even resolve the issue, Maharashtra government's health scheme is surely proving to be unhealth for the saffron party.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  BJP   Amit Shah   Maharashtra 

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