Mumbai: The ongoing war of words between Maharashtra and Karnataka ministers on the long-pending border dispute between the two neighbours took a new twist on Sunday after Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister Govind Karjol claimed that the ancestors of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj were originally from Karnataka. He further said that Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was also a Kannadiga.
Karjol, who was in Belagavi, which has a majority of Marathi-speaking population, lashed out at Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, saying that he had not read history. ‘‘So, they don’t know history. The forefathers of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj are from Soratur village in Gadag district of Karnataka. Their ‘Mul Purush’ is Beliappa, who went to Maharashtra because of the drought in Karnataka. Shivaji Maharaj was the next generation. Therefore, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is a native of Kannada land,’’ he noted.
‘‘There is a coalition government in Maharashtra. Uddhav Thackeray is afraid when the Congress will remove him from office. Therefore, purely for that reason, he is trying to divert people's attention,’’ said Karjol. Despite a long pending border dispute, he noted that Marathi and Kannada people live with love in Karnataka. Although the caste is Marathi, they are Kannada, he added.
Further, the Karnataka DCM said the Kannada Marathi people live in Maharashtra with love. ‘‘Thackeray, in a bid to save his CM’s post should not spoil the atmosphere,’’ he warned.
Thackeray’s media advisor Harshal Pradhan ridiculed Karjol’s statement, hoping he would ‘‘get well soon’’.
Karjol’s statement came days after the other Deputy CM of Karnataka, Laxman Savadi, said Mumbai ought to be declared a Union Territory until it was merged with Karnataka, as it was once part of the Bombay-Karnataka region and hence, the people of his state had a rightful claim to it. “The time has come to start demanding our share of Mumbai and efforts to get Mumbai merged in Karnataka state should begin now. And until Mumbai is merged with Karnataka, I demand that the Union Government declare Mumbai as a Union Territory,'' he noted.
Savadi was snubbed by Maharashtra DCM Ajit Pawar, who categorically declared, “Mumbai belongs to Maharashtra. It was ours yesterday, is ours today and will be ours in the future too. Nobody can change this.''
Earlier, Thackeray had avowed, “We have to learn from past experiences and fight to win. The Karnataka-occupied Marathi-speaking areas will be included in Maharashtra. Let's take a pledge that we will not rest till we win. If the long-pending issue is not resolved during this (MVA) government's tenure, it will never be,’’ he said.
NCP Chief Sharad Pawar asserted that the Supreme Court was the "last weapon for the state" and Maharashtra should use all its legal acumen to win the case.