Leaders cutting across political lines in Karnataka, including Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, on Monday came down heavily on Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's remarks on incorporating into the state the areas of Karnataka where Marathi-speaking people are in majority.
In a series of tweets, Yediyurappa declared that Mahajan Commission report's recommendations on the border dispute between Maharashtra and Karnataka is "absolute and conclusive".
"Maharashtra CM's raking up border issue with us is smacked with arrogance and audacity. His statement on Belagavi is a slap on the face of the country's federal structure. He should realise this as it is a foregone conclusion when both states have agreed and implemented Mahajan Commission report's recommendations long ago," he said.
In another tweet, he said that it was painful to note that the person occupying CM's post should indulge in politicking over the border dispute.
"This is nothing but an attempt to disrupt the harmonious atmosphere in Karnataka. Marathas living in Karnataka assimilated with Kannada and Kannadigas very meaningfully, similarly, Kannadigas living Maharashtra have assimilated with Marathas beautifully. Let this peaceful and affectionate coexistence not be disturbed by anyone including Maharashtra CM," he urged and added that "the least I expect from Uddhav Thackerey is that he should respect our federal structure and laws that govern our land."
On Sunday, Thackeray while paying tributes to the martyrs of the border hostilities asserted that bringing back Marathi-speaking areas of Karnataka into Maharashtra was the only fitting tribute.
He also tweeted that "Bringing Karnataka-occupied Marathi-speaking areas into Maharashtra will be a true tribute to those who accepted martyrdom in the boundary battle. We are united and committed towards it."
Asserting his commitment to solving the "border dispute", Thackeray added he will fulfil his promise.
Thackeray had kicked off a row over the age-old border dispute between both states in December 2019, when he referred to Belagavi as "Karnataka-occupied-Maharashtra" in the Maharashtra Assembly.
Taking strong exception to these statements, Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, Siddaramaiah warned Thackeray to not "politicise the issue".
Asserting that the Mahajan report on this issue is "final", Siddaramaiah called out the Maharashtra CM for his "irresponsible statement".
Siddaramaiah also appealed to Yediyurappa to give a befitting response to the "stupid comments" made by the Maharashtra CM.
Former Karnataka CM and JD-S leader H.D. Kumaraswamy also warned Maharashtra to not test the patience of peace loving Kannadigas by raking up "settled" border dispute long ago.
Kumaraswamy said Maharashtra CM's statement shows nothing but the "expansionist mindset" of Uddhav Thackeray. "In order to prove that Belagavi is integral part of our state, culture and pride of our language, I had taken decision to hold Legislature Session in Belagavi by constructing Suvarna Vidhan Soudha there when I was the CM (2006 to 2008)," he said.
Karnataka Water Resources Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi who is also Belagavi district in-charge minister said Thackeray's remarks on Sunday on "incorporating Marathi-speaking areas" in Karnataka into Maharashtra is nothing but an attempt to create unnecessary confusion over the issue.
"Belagavi is an integral part of Karnataka. The Mahajan Commission report has already been accepted and there is no question of giving even an inch of land," he asserted.
He accused the Maharashtra government of raising the issue to cover up its failures.
Kannada Development Authority (KDA) chairman T.S. Nagabharana too said that Thackeray has made the statement despite knowing that they will not be able to take even an inch of land from Karnataka.
Kannada activist Vatal Nagaraj said instead of talking about Marathi-speaking areas, Maharashtra should give Solapur to Karnataka.
"Around 120 villages in the border district, where Kannada-speaking people are in majority, have been denied basic facilities. They want to be part of Karnataka," Nagaraj claimed.