Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday tried his best to diffuse the tension over the border dispute between Maharashtra and Karnataka.
He met the chief ministers of both states in New Delhi and suggested forming a committee of six ministers, three each from both sides, to resolve the issue and asked the states to not stake claim to any territory or create any demand till the Supreme Court decides the issue.
Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis represented Maharashtra, while CM Basavaraj Bommai and Home Minister Araga Jnanendra were present for Karnataka.
Earlier the Maharashtra Karnataka border dispute is in the news again after NCP leader Ajit Pawar raised the issue , and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said his government was “committed to acquiring” Marathi-speaking villages along the border.
The border dispute between the two states is decades-old, having its origins in the states’ reorganisation in the 1950s.
Maharashtra’s Leader of Opposition Ajit Pawar Wednesday demanded clarification from the Chief Minister and deputy CM over Karnataka CM Basavraj Bommai’s claims that villages in Jat tehsil of Sangli were a part of Karnataka.
The BJP is in power in both Maharashtra and Karnataka.
Both Maharashtra and Karnataka were formed in 1960. But since its inception, Maharashtra has claimed that 865 villages along the border, including Carvar, Nippani and Belgavi ( earlier Belgaum), should be merged with it.
On its part, Karnataka has asserted rights over 260 Kannada-speaking villages along the Maharashtra border.
The erstwhile Bombay Presidency, a multilingual province, included the present-day Karnataka districts of Vijayapura, Belagavi, Dharwad, and Uttara Kannada.
In 1948, the Belgaum municipality requested that the district, having a predominantly Marathi-speaking population, be incorporated into the proposed Maharashtra state.
However, The States Reorganisation Act of 1956 made Belgaum and 10 talukas of Bombay State a part of the then Mysore State (which was renamed as Karnataka in 1973).
|Maharashtra minister says Karnataka CM’s claims on border dispute shouldn’t be taken seriously.
While demarcating borders, the Reorganisation of States Commission included talukas with a Kannada-speaking population of more than 50 per cent in Mysore.
But the opponents of the decision have maintained that in 1956, Marathi-speakers outnumbered Kannada-speakers in those areas.
The Mahajan Commission was set up by the Government of India in October 1966 to look into the border dispute. In its report submitted in August 1967, the Commission, led by former Chief Justice of India Mehr Chand Mahajan, recommended that 264 villages should be transferred to Maharashtra, and that Belgaum and 247 villages should remain with Karnataka.
Maharashtra rejected the report, calling it biased and illogical. Despite demands from Karnataka, the Centre never implemented the report.
In 2004, the Maharashtra government moved the Supreme Court for settlement of the border dispute under Article 131(b) of the Constitution. The case is pending in the apex court.
Fadnavis, speaking to the media at Nagpur, responded, “The Jat resolution discussed was passed in 2012. It is an old proposal. We have not received any new proposal from Karnataka.”
Stating that Maharashtra’s stand on claiming Carvar, Nippani and Belagavi was non-negotiable, Fadnavis added, “We will fight for our stand within the legal frame work in the Supreme Court.”
Then another fuel aded to the fire ., that is to counter Bommai Tuesday offered special grants to Kannda-medium schools in Maharashtra, and announced pensions to Kannadigas in Maharashtra who fought for unification of the state.