Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said that Bal Thackeray's dream of incorporating Belgaum, Karwar and Nipani -- areas of Karnataka should be fulfilled.

Yediyurappa, Karnataka Chief Minister
news Politics Wednesday, November 18, 2020 - 18:13

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Tuesday kicked up a row with neighboring Karnataka with a fresh war of words about areas on the Maharashtra borders like Belagavi, Nippani and Karwar. The deputy chief minister said Maharashtra's all-round growth and incorporating Belgaum, Karwar and Nipani -- areas of Karnataka which have substantial Marathi-speaking population -- were dreams of Bal Thackeray. "Let's resolve to fulfil Balasaheb's dream," he said in his message as reported by PTI.

"I condemn the comments made by Maharashtra Deputy CM Ajit Pawar. The world knows that the findings in the Mahajan Commission report is final. What I have done recently is for development of Marathis. For Ajit Pawar to fan flames at a time like this is condemnable and it should not be done in the future," Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said in response. 

The Mahajan Commission report is an extensive report on the Belagavi border dispute with Maharashtra. The Commission was constituted in 1966 and it stated that Belagavi (then referred to as Belgaium) will continue to be a part of Karnataka among other recommendations. Maharashtra later called for the 1951 census report to be followed since it suggested a higher percentage of Marathi speakers in and around Belagavi. 

Meanwhile, Yediyurappa is facing criticism in the state for forming a Maratha development authority. Former Chief Minister and opposition leader Siddaramaiah too criticised Yediyurappa over the issue. "I strongly condemn any decision which is only intended to reap political benefits. There is dispute between Kannadigas and Marathis for long time now and with the announcement of Marathi development authority, @CMofKarnataka is instigating Kannadigas and disrupting peace," a tweet by Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah said.

Several pro-Kannada groups have already announced a bandh across the state on December 5 following the Karnataka government's decision to establish the Maratha Development Board.
Protests were also held in Bengaluru on Wednesday morning by pro-Kannada groups protesting the issue. 
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