Maharashtra Dy CM Fadnavis talks tough: ‘Not a single village will go to Karnataka’

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Maharashtra-Karnataka border dispute: The ongoing border dispute between Maharashtra and Karnataka has intensified in the last two days with fireworks from both sides. The latest round began when Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai claimed on Tuesday that panchayats in Jat tehsils of Maharashtra had earlier passed a resolution for merger with Karnataka and he was seriously considering it.

Bommai’s remarks provoked angry reactions from the Maharashtra government with cabinet minister Shambhuraj Desai saying that he should not be taken seriously.

Today Maharashtra’s Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis also made it clear that his government will not let any village in Karnataka go. He said, “Not a single village of Maharashtra will go to Karnataka.” Speaking to reporters, Fadnavis said, “The state government will fight to bring Belgaum-Karwar-Nipani, including Marathi-speaking villages, into our state.”

Fadnavis also said that the Jat resolution was passed in 2012. “It is an old proposal. We have not received any new proposal from Karnataka,” he said.

Bommai on Tuesday said that his government has decided to give special grants to Kannada medium schools in Maharashtra. He also said that his government would give pension to Kannadigas in Maharashtra who fought for the integration of the state. This comes after Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde promised pension to freedom fighters from Belagavi and other parts of Karnataka.

Bommai on Monday said that he has formed a legal team comprising senior Supreme Court and Karnataka lawyers to deal with the boundary dispute case that will come up before the apex court. A day later, the Maharashtra government appointed cabinet members Chandrakant Patil and Shambhuraj Desai as nodal ministers to coordinate with the legal team regarding the case.

Today, Desai said that Bommai has come up with some ridiculous old demands and should not be taken seriously. He said the villages in Jat tehsil of Sangli district passed a resolution more than a decade ago allegedly to pressurize the then state government to fulfill their demand of supplying water for irrigation from the Krishna river .

The origins of the current border dispute date back to the 1950s. Maharashtra claims authority over 865 villages along the border, including Karwar, Nippani and Belagavi. Karnataka, on the other hand, has repeatedly rejected this claim and wants 260 Kannada-speaking villages in Maharashtra to be merged with it.

(With inputs from PTI)

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