Kannada groups claim ordinary Marathi are not interested in the language issue anymore.

Remove Belagavi mayor for participating in black day rally on Rajyotsava Day Kannada groups
news Rally Wednesday, November 02, 2016 - 13:30

The border dispute between Karnataka and Maharashtra has flared up again, with the MES-backed Mayor and Deputy Mayor participating in a ‘black day’ rally on Karnataka Rajyotsava day.

On Tuesday, Belagavi Mayor Sarita Patil and Deputy Mayor Sanjay Shinde participated in the ‘black day’ rally organised by the Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti. Both were elected with support from the MES. 

The MES had organized the rally to protest the inclusion of Marathi-speaking areas within Karnataka during the linguistic re-organization of states.

Ashok Chandargi, president of the Belgaum District Kannada Organizations’ Action Committee, says that the government should not have permitted the rally in the first place. “For the past 30-40 years, the government has been permitting the black day rally. They shouldn’t allow it.” 

In her statement, released in Marathi, Sarita had said that the Constitution granted her the right to participate in the black day protest. 

However, while demanding the removal of Sarita and Sanjay, he maintained that the government should not supersede the Belgavi City Corporation “just for the wrongdoing of two people”. He said: “They are employees of the Karnataka government, and are obtaining benefits from this government. They should be removed through provisions in the KMC Act, so that this does not happen again. But the government should not supersede the BCC as it did in 2006 and 2011.” 

The Karnataka government had dissolved the council during those years for similar reasons.

In a 2014 interview to The News Minute, Ashok had said the language issue was largely dead for both Kannada and Marathi speakers. Most people in the border area spoke both languages.

Ashok maintains that the situation still holds true. “MES only gets political mileage out of this. They will use it for the next election. Ordinary Marathis don’t really want the issue raked up.” 

Asked how the MES could benefit if ordinary Marathis did not care about the issue, Ashok said that the MES had lost its hold over Belagavi district in 1999. Electorally, it is a spent force, he claimed, and only stands to gain as the Kannada votes get split between the Congress, JD(S) and the BJP. 

He said that the government of Karnataka should be filing a contempt of court case against the MES for bringing it up while the Supreme Court was seized of the matter on the petition of the Maharashtra government. The Maharashtra government wants 814 villages to be integrated with Maharashtra.

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