Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Wednesday took exception to Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar’s remark, a day after he spoke about “incorporating” Marathi-dominated regions of the southern state.
Pawar made the statement on Tuesday on the death anniversary of Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray.
“He [Thackeray] always dreamt about the overall development of Maharashtra and make a united Maharashtra including Belgaum, Karwar and Nipani,” a statement from Pawar’s office read, according to the Hindustan Times. “So let us decide to fulfil this dream.”
Hours after Pawar’s comment, the Karnataka Chief Minister’s Office tweeted: “Marathas have been living in Karnataka for generations and are in the process of establishing this authority in the hope that they will develop their economy, socially and economically”.
On Wednesday morning while speaking to the media, Yediyurappa condemned Pawar’s comments, citing the Mahajan Commission’ verdict on the states’ borders.
In 1972, a one-man commission, formed under former Supreme Court judge Meher Chand Mahajan, rejected Maharashtra’s claim to Belgaum (now Belagavi). The panel recommended transfer of some 250 to 260 villages each between the two states. While Karnataka agreed to comply with the report, Maharashtra refused.
Earlier in the day, Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi, too, had rejected any territorial claims of Maharashtra, according to NDTV.
The controversy followed after the Karnataka government’s recent decision to set up a Maratha Development Authority, with a corpus fund of Rs 50 crore for the development of Marathas living in the border region of the two states.
Meanwhile, former Karnataka Chief Minister and Congress leader K Siddaramaiah, in a series of tweets, criticised the Yediyurappa government’s decision, calling it “a divide and rule policy”.
Meanwhile, the decision on Maratha Development Authority led to protests in Bengaluru by the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike on Wednesday.