The Nationalist Congress Party on Saturday questioned the “eerie silence" of the Maharashtra government, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Centre on the “uncalled for" statements made by Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on the border dispute between the two states, which it claimed brought the differences to the fore again.
Bommai had recently sought a merger of “Kannada-speaking" areas in Maharashtra’s Akkalkot and Solapur and had also said some villages in Jat taluka in Sangli district wanted to join the southern state.
A day earlier, he said the visit of Maharashtra ministers Chandrakant Patil and Shambhuraj Desai to Belgaum was not good in the given situation.
Maharashtra and Karnataka have been involved in a long-standing border dispute, with the former seeking administrative control of Marathi-speaking Belgaum and some other villages of the neighbouring state.
“‘Why is an eerie silence being maintained by the Central government, BJP and CM of Maharashtra on the uncalled for statements made and issues raised on the border row by Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai," NCP national spokesperson Clyde Crasto asked in a statement.
“Firstly, he (Bommai) made statements on the sub-judice border issue, which led to disturbance of peace in both the states. Now, he says ministers from Maharashtra should not come to Belagavi as the situation is not conducive, given the differences over the border,’ Crasto added.
He said it was Bommai’s statements that started giving rise to differences on the ground again, adding Maharashtra ministers Patil and Desai were going to Belgaum to liaise with the legal team and other stakeholders of the dispute.
“Talking will always help in getting a solution to the border issue, so why is Karnataka CM not permitting dialogue? Bommai should not be allowed to dictate terms. Therefore, it is important for the Centre to intervene and stop him in his tracks and make sure peace is maintained in both the states," Crasto added.
Ministers Patil and Desai were appointed by the Eknath Shinde government recently to coordinate with the state’s legal team on the border issue. They were likely to meet leaders of the Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (MES), which has been spearheading the movement to merge Belagavi with Maharashtra for decades.
Speaking to reporters in Belgaum on Friday, Bommai said, “Already our chief secretary has written to the chief secretary of Maharashtra through fax. In the given situation it is not good for them (Patil and Desai) to visit here and hence, they should not come here."
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