Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis spoke to Karnataka Chief Minister BS Bommai over phone on Tuesday and discussed the current tension in the border areas of their states.
Fadnavis expressed dismay over the attacks on Maharashtra buses in several parts of Karnataka. The Chief Minister of Karnataka assured the safety of all buses coming from Maharashtra.
NCP’s ultimatum on border issue
NCP chief Sharad Pawar gave an ultimatum of 24 hours to resolve the issue, saying that if the government failed to stop the violence, his party would resort to appropriate agitation.
The Deputy CM of Maharashtra and the CM of Karnataka are at loggerheads on this issue.
Earlier on November 23, Fadnavis had said that no village in Maharashtra has demanded merger with Karnataka recently, and there is no question of any border village “going anywhere”.
Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai claimed on 22 November that some gram panchayats in Jat taluka of Maharashtra’s Sangli district had in the past passed a resolution seeking merger with Karnataka when they were facing severe water crisis.
He said that the Karnataka government has prepared schemes to help them by providing water and his government is seriously considering the proposal of Jat villages.
Fadnavis told reporters in Nagpur, “These villages had submitted a proposal on the issue of water scarcity in 2012. Presently no village has submitted any proposal.”
He said that when he became the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, his government made an agreement with Karnataka to solve the water issue.
The BJP leader said that when Girish Mahajan was the water resources minister in his cabinet, a water supply scheme was made for Jat villages.
Fadnavis said, “We are now going to clear that plan. Maybe because of Covid, the previous (Uddhav Thackeray-led) government could not clear it.”
“At present, no village has raised such a demand (of merger with Karnataka). The demand dates back to 2012,” he said.
Fadnavis insisted, “Not a single village in Maharashtra will go anywhere.”
BJP blames Jawaharlal Nehru for long pending dispute
BJP leader and Maharashtra minister Sudhir Mungantiwar blamed Jawaharlal Nehru for the long-pending dispute.
“The dispute between Maharashtra and Karnataka is actually the creation of late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru,” he said.
The matter is now before the Supreme Court
He told reporters that the matter was now before the Supreme Court and any resolution passed by the gram panchayats would have no bearing on the court’s decision.
“If resolutions are to be taken so seriously, then what about villages in Karnataka that have passed resolutions to join Maharashtra,” he said.
Earlier in the day, another Maharashtra minister, Shambhuraj Desai, said the Karnataka chief minister’s claims should not be taken seriously.
The decades-old border dispute between Maharashtra and Karnataka over Belagavi (earlier Belgaum) is again in the news due to recent statements from both the sides.