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Saturday, January 28, 2023

Uddhav Thackeray demands PM Modi clarify his stand on Maha-Karnataka border dispute

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Former Maharshtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray. File.
| Photo Credit: PTI

Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Maharashtra to inaugurate Hindu Hrudaysamrat Balasaheb Thackeray Maharashtra Samruddhi Mahamarg (Nagpur-Mumbai super communication expressway), Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday asked the former to clarify his stand on the simmering inter-State border dispute with Karnataka.

Speaking at the inauguration of the 42nd Marathwada Sahitya Sammelan at Jalna, the former Chief Minister said Mr. Modi is coming for the inauguration of the expressway on Sunday, and they welcome him. “But, during his visit, Mr. Modi, should clarify his stand on the Maharashtra-Karnataka border dispute. He will have to address a host of issues plaguing the state when he comes for the inauguration of the expressway,” he demanded.

Mr. Thackeray said the Prime Minister must speak about Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai’s claim on some villages in Jath taluka in Sangali district in Maharashtra.

The decades-old issue has hit the headlines, and reignited a protracted boundary row when Mr. Bommai announced on November 22 that his government was “seriously considering” staking a claim to the taluka, and his statement generated political heat in the western State.

Since its inception in 1960, Maharashtra has been entangled in a dispute with Karnataka over the status of Belgaum (now Belagavi) and other Marathi-speaking villages in Karnataka, which led to decades-long violent agitation and formation of Maharashtra Ekikaran Samithi that favours the merging of the Marathi-speaking areas with Maharashtra.

Mr. Thackeray said writers can play an important role in changing society by questioning the rulers. “Holding seminars is not enough. Writers should come on the streets and question the rulers for their wrongdoings. But, those who question are being sent to jail,” he said.

Further, the Shiv Sena chief, who led the Maha Vikas Aghadi government for more than two and a half years before Eknath Shinde took over as the Chief Minister in June following a rebellion by 40 Shiv Sena MLAs, criticised Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju and Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar for their statements against the collegium system of the Supreme Court.

“The Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government is pressuring the judiciary and trying to bring it under its thumb. If judges can’t appoint judges, then can the prime minister choose them,” Mr. Thackeray said defending the collegium system of appointment of judges.

Meanwhile in Mumbai, Uddhav loyalist and Sena MP Sanjay Raut slammed the Maharashtra Chief Minister for his silence on the border row.

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