Former Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday said in the state Legislative Council that the central government should declare “Karnataka-occupied Maharashtra” areas as a Union Territory.
Speaking in the Upper House on the raging boundary dispute between Maharashtra and Karnataka, Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Thackeray said it is not just a case of language and border, but of “humanity”.
He said Marathi-speaking people have been residing in the border villages from generations. Their daily life, language and lifestyle is Marathi, he said.
Till the issue is pending before the Supreme Court, the “Karnataka-occupied Maharashtra should be declared as a Union Territory by the central government,” he said.
Thackeray also asked whether Maharashtra Chief Minister (Eknath Shinde) has said a word about the issue and questioned the state government’s stand on it.
The matter is sub-judice and there is a status quo on it, but who is spoiling the atmosphere? he asked, apparently targeting the Karnataka government.
The Karnataka legislature has reiterated the state’s stand that the border issue is a settled one, and not an inch of land will be given to the neighbouring state.
Thackeray questioned the central government’s role as “guardian” of both the states.
“Has the central government acted as guardian. We expect the central government to act as the guardian,” he said.
He also said (members of) both the Houses should watch the movie “Case for Justice” and read the Mahajan Commission report (on the border issue).
When the Belagavi Municipal Corporation passed a resolution to merge with Maharashtra, action was taken against the corporation, Thackeray said. Similarly, some gram panchayats of Maharashtra had demanded a merger with Telangana. Does the Shinde government have little courage to even act against these gram panchayats? he asked.
Rajya Sabha member and Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut was present in the visitors’ gallery of the House.
The border issue dates back to 1957 after the reorganisation of states on linguistic lines.
Maharashtra laid claim to Belagavi, which was part of the erstwhile Bombay Presidency, as it has a sizeable Marathi-speaking population. It also laid claim to more than 800 Marathi-speaking villages which are currently part of Karnataka.
Karnataka maintains the demarcation done on linguistic lines as per the States Reorganisation Act and the 1967 Mahajan Commission Report as final.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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