If history is a witness, whenever the Shiv Sena is cornered, the party plays the age-old Marathi Asmita card in order to retain its rapidly deteriorating voter base. Now, the Shiv Sena and the Nationalist Communist Party have combined to pick up a needless border tussle with Karnataka which has resulted in Shiv Sena and Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray getting slammed from across Karnataka’s political lines. The SS-NCP in their desperate ploy to play the Marathi Asmita card, are playing a dangerous game and things can get out of hands quickly. The Maharashtra-Karnataka border tussle is a needless controversy —an extra problem that India should not have had to deal with.
Picking up from where it left off, the Maharashtra government recently released a book in the Marathi language, ‘Maharashtra-Karnataka Border dispute: Struggle & determination’ at an event where Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray, NCP Chief Sharad Pawar and State Congress Chief Balasaheb Thorat were present.
At the event, Uddhav Thackeray attempted to escalate the matters as he said, “Despite the matter is in court, Karnataka Govt has deliberately changed the name of the disputed region of Belgaum. Looking at atrocities of Marathi speaking people in that area, our Govt will approach SC to declare that part as Union Territory till the matter is in court.”
One would expect such strongly-worded statements from a Shiv Sena activist rather than a state CM. The claim of atrocities against Marathi speaking should have been avoided; however, it seems that the lust for playing the Marathi Asmita card seems to have gain precedence.
The Karnataka BJP didn’t take kindly to Thackeray’s comments and hit back sarcastically against the Maharashtra government.
“The people of this region, as well as I, demand that Mumbai should be included in Karnataka. Until that is done, I demand the Central govt to declare Mumbai as a Union Territory,” said Karnataka Deputy CM Laxman Savadi.
The people of this region as well as I demand that Mumbai should be included in Karnataka. Until that is done, I demand the Central govt to declare Mumbai as a Union Territory: Karnataka Deputy CM Laxman Savadi https://t.co/NQtxvePitR pic.twitter.com/uloWAxlahF
— ANI (@ANI) January 27, 2021
Earlier this month, a tweet from Maharashtra Chief Minister’s Office had stirred a controversy. “Bringing back Marathi linguistic and cultural regions from Karnataka to Maharashtra will be the real tribute to the martyrs who lost their lives in the fight of Belgavi border dispute. We are united and committed to this. With these words, we give homage to the martyrs,” read the tweet.
This statement was not taken lightly by Sena’s alliance partner in Maharashtra, the Indian National Congress as former Karnataka CM and senior INC leader, Siddaramaiah, chose to come down heavily on Thackeray’s remarks.
In a series of tweets, Leader of the Opposition in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly, said, “I strongly condemn the statement made by Uddhav Thackeray about our Belagavi. Belagavi is an integral part of Karnataka. Don’t try to instigate us by bringing up the issue which is already resolved.”
He added, “Mahajan report is final with respect to Belagavi border issue. Uddhav Thackeray, don’t try to politicize the issue which is already decided. You are not just a Shiv Sena activist. Don’t forget that you are also a responsible Chief Minister.”
Siddaramaiah also urged Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa to hit out at Thackeray as he said, “We will never compromise or politicize on matters related to land-water-language of Karnataka. Protecting our State is our responsibility. Karnataka Chief Minister should officially give a befitting response to the stupid comments made by Uddhav Thackeray.”
On this issue, Yediyurappa said, “I am saddened by this statement of the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, which can spoil the present amicable atmosphere. I expect Uddhav Thackeray, as a true Indian, to show commitment and respect to the principles of federalism.”
Thanks to the Sena-NCP combine India is seeing two of its states at loggerheads over a border dispute — a problem which should have been avoided given the prevalent environment.