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‘Expansionary like China, divisive’: Karnataka leaders slam Uddhav’s Belagavi comments

After Uddhav said Marathi-speaking areas of Karnataka should be incorporated into Maharashtra, Karnataka Deputy CM Ashwathnarayan urged the Congress to withdraw its support to the Shiv Sena-led Maharashtra government.

Written by Ralph Alex Arakal | Bengaluru |
Updated: January 19, 2021 8:16:55 am
Uddhav Thackeray, Aarey Metro car shed. Maharashtra Budget session, maratha reservation, indian express newsUddhav Thackeray. (File)

Leaders across party lines in Karnataka, including the Chief Minister and the Leader of Opposition, Monday voiced objections to a statement by Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray, in which he said his government was committed to incorporating Marathi-speaking areas of Karnataka into the state.

Karnataka CM B S Yediyurappa accused his Maharashtra counterpart of trying to “disturb the prevailing harmonious atmosphere” in the border areas of the states. “Uddhav Thackeray should instead show his commitment towards respecting the principles of unity,” he stated.

Yediyurappa said the statement by Thackeray was “detrimental” and “contrary to the principles of the nation’s unity”, adding “The Maharashtra CM raking up the border issue in the name of Marathi language and culture is unwarranted, and goes against the federal structure of the nation. The Mahajan Commission report on this matter is final.”

Also read | Hutatma Din: Marathi-speaking people in Belgaum fail to get an audience with Home Minister

On Sunday, Thackeray had said bringing “Karnataka-occupied” Marathi-speaking regions into Maharashtra would be a “true tribute” to those martyred in the boundary battle in 1956.

However, Yediyurappa said, “Marathi people are living in harmony with Kannadigas in Karnataka. Likewise, Kannadigas living in the border districts of Maharashtra are living in harmony with the Marathi people there.”

Senior Congress leader and former CM Siddaramaiah too condemned Uddav’s statement, adding that Belagavi is an integral part of Karnataka. “Don’t try to instigate us by bringing up the issue which is already resolved. Mahajan report is final with respect to Belagavi border issue,” he said in a statement.

Janata Dal (Secular) leader H D Kumaraswamy likened Thackeray’s statement to the “expansionary policies of China”, warning that such remarks would affect the harmonious relationship between the states.

Meanwhile, Deputy CM C N Ashwathnarayan urged the Congress in Maharashtra to withdraw its support to the Shiv Sena-led government. “Parties like Shiv Sena that try to rake up unnecessary issues to jeopardise the unity of the country are dangerous to our democracy. Our (Karnataka’s) tolerance and pacifism should not be considered weakness by anyone,” he said in Bengaluru.

Deputy CM Laxman Savadi, Education Minister S Suresh Kumar, and other leaders also condemned the Maharashtra CM’s statement.

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