‘Inciting fire’: K’taka on Ajit Pawar’s ‘united Maharashtra’ call

Marathi people in the state are like Kannadigas, he says in response to Maharashtra deputy CM's statement that late Bal Thackeray had dreamt of a united Maharashtra including Belgaum, Karwar and Nipani

B S Yediyurappa recently announced the formation of Veerashaiva-Lingayat Development Corporation and was likely to announce reservation for the numerically strong Lingayat community, to which he belongs.

After Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar called for an “united Maharashtra” that would include Belgaum, Karwar and Nipani, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa slammed the NCP leader and termed it as an attempt to “incite fire”.

Speaking to reporters in Bengaluru on Wednesday (November 18), Yediyurappa said, “I condemn Maharashtra DCM Ajit Pawar’s statement. The whole world knows that the Mahajan commission report is final. Marathi people here are like Kannadigas in our state. We have created a corporation here for the development of Marathas.

“During the Belagavi Vishwa Kannada Sammelana (World Kannada Meet held in 2011), they (Marathi people) had participated in a big way. When such is the situation, Ajit Pawar has tried to incite fire, it is condemnable. I condemn it. They have to stop making such statements in the future,” Yediyurappa added.

Related News: ‘No question of giving away even an inch of land,’ says Karnataka CM on Belagavi border issue

Pawar said Maharashtra’s all-round growth and incorporating Belgaum (Belagavi), Karwar and Nipani – areas of Karnataka which have substantial Marathi-speaking population – were dreams of Bal Thackeray.

“Late Balasaheb had struggled his entire life for rights of common man. He always dreamt about the overall development of Maharashtra and make a united Maharashtra including Belgaum, Karwar and Nipani. So let us decide to fulfil this dream,” a statement from Pawar’s office read as he paid tributes to Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray on his eighth death anniversary on Tuesday.

Both states have been at loggerheads for decades over the border issues. Maharashtra claims the border district of Belagavi was part of the erstwhile Bombay Presidency, but is currently a district of Karnataka, on linguistic grounds.

On its part as an assertion that Belagavi is an integral part of the state, Karnataka has built the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha, modelled on the Vidhana Soudha, the state legislature building in Bengaluru, where legislature session is held once a year.

Recently, Karnataka chief minister had ordered the formation of Maratha Development Authority with a fund of ₹ 50 crore. This angered pro-Kannada groups and they have called for state-wide bandh on December 5.

On Wednesday, former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah too slammed Yediyurappa’s decision in a series of tweets.

“.@bsybjp, as always, is adopting divide and rule policy by establishing Maratha development authority. With only electoral benefits in mind, Yediyurappa is taking unscientific route of establishing development bodies based on only castes,” the Congress leader wrote.

“I strongly condemn any decision which is only intended to reap political benefits. There is dispute between Kannadigas and Marathis for long time now and with the announcement of Marathi development authority, @CMofKarnataka is instigating Kannadigas and disrupting peace,” he said in another tweet.

He further wrote, “I strongly oppose any decision taken against the interests of Kannadigas. There are many other pressing issues that needs government assistance. @BSYBJP should look into that first to address inequality before hurting the sentiments of Kannadigas.”

“When I was @CMofKarnataka, Anna Bhagya, Ksheera Bhagya, & other programs were implemented. These were not intended to divide people on caste or language. @BSYBJP has been neglecting these pro-people programs while announcing funds for projects that were not in the budget.”

(With inputs from PTI)

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