A DELEGATION of MPs from the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) on Friday met Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Parliament and sought his intervention in the ongoing border dispute between Karnataka and Maharashtra. The Home Minister promised the delegation that he will convene a meeting of chief ministers of both states on December 14, said members of the delegation.
“Our Constitution drafted by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar has given us the right to move freely anywhere in the country. But there are attempts to stop our free movement… A delegation of MVA MPs met Home Minister Amit Shah today to raise our concerns regarding the ongoing border row between Karnataka and Maharashtra. The Home Minister has promised to hold discussions on the issue and find a solution,” NCP MP Amol Kolhe, who was part of the delegation, told The Indian Express.
The border row, which has been raging for decades, recently flared up again when Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said that some villages in the border district of Maharashtra wanted to merge with Karnataka. Earlier this week, some vehicles from Maharashtra were pelted with stones in Belagavi area. In retaliation, Karnataka state transport buses were smeared with black paint in Maharashtra.
Kolhe said the Home Minister has promised to convene a meeting of Karnataka and Maharashtra chief ministers on December 14 to find a way to resolve the issue. “The Home Minister heard us patiently and promised to take initiative in this regard,” he said.
On the controversial remarks made by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari about Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, which has led to protests in Maharashtra, Kolhe said, “The Home Minister said Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was a national icon and we should all have respect for our national icons…”.
NCP MP Supriya Sule, who led the delegation, said,”I want to thank Home Minister Amit Shah for giving us time and hearing our grievances. We told the Home Minister about the statements given by the Karnataka Chief Minister against Maharashtra. We also told the Home Minister about the statements made by Maharashtra ministers and the Governor. The Home Minister told us that he has noted our concern.”
Sule said Shah has promised to intervene in the matter after the oath-taking ceremony of the new government in Gujarat. “We are confident that he will find a way…,” she said.
Targeting the Maharashtra government, Sule said,”The present Shinde-Fadnavis government never takes the opposition into confidence…Whenever national icons are insulted or Maharashtra is insulted, the present government seems to be backing the wrong-doers. The government is never seen taking any action in the interest of the state. For a good 24 hours, the Maharashtra chief minister kept quiet even as the Karnataka chief minister was ranting against Maharashtra.”
Meanwhile, two MPs from the Eknath Shinde faction, Shrirang Barne and Dhairyasheel Mane, were apparently asked by Sule to join the delegation. But Sena (UBT) MP Arvind Sawant decided to step aside. “Since bitterness had crept in, I told the delegation that if it can resolve the issue on its own, it can go ahead and meet the Home Minister. Both Mane and I decided to stay away from the delegation,” Barne told The Indian Express.