Attacks on vehicles from Maharashtra in Belgaum by Kannada Rakshana Vedika Sangathan on Tuesday evoked angry reactions from the ruling and opposition parties. The opposition has questioned the Chief Minister Mr Eknath Shinde’s selective silence on today’s incident amid a raging border row between Maharashtra and Karnataka.
The Deputy Chief Minister Mr Devendra Fadnavis called up the Karnataka CM Mr Basavraj Bommai and expressed his disappointment over the Hirebagewadi incident.
‘’The Karnataka Chief Minister assured Fadnavis of strong action against the perpetrators. He also assured Fadnavis that vehicles entering Karnataka from Maharashtra will be given proper protection,” said the sources close to Mr Fadnavis.
Leader of Opposition Mr Ajit Pawar strongly condemned the cowardly attack on Maharashtra vehicles by Kannada goons in the Marathi-speaking Belgaum area. ‘’The attack on Maharashtra's vehicles is an attack on Maharashtra's self-esteem. Attempts to create terror in the minds of Marathi speakers in the border areas through such a cowardly attack will never succeed. The Maharashtra government should not tolerate such cowardly attacks. The Maharashtra government and the ruling parties should give up their callous and finger-pointing stance. Mere protest will not work,’’ said Mr Pawar. He asked the Shinde Fadnavis government to show the courage to take an aggressive stand and give a befitting reply to the Karnataka government.
‘’These things are happening only because of the support of the Karnataka government. The Maharashtra government should take a strong stand in this regard. The Central Government should reprimand the Chief Minister of Karnataka. For the protection of Marathi people, the opposition party and the proud citizens of Maharashtra stand firmly behind them in the border areas for their identity,’’ said Mr Pawar.
On the other hand, Shiv Sena Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray MP Mr Sanjay Raut asked whether the government exists in Maharashtra. ‘’There is a helpless government in Maharashtra especially when Karnataka is laying claims over our villages and cities. The state has been insulted and the Chief Minister is keeping silent. If the situation flares up, it will be difficult for the state government to handle it,’’ he warned.
However, state BJP chief spokesman Mr Keshav Upadhye had a different take on the present controversy. He claimed that the Kannada Rakshana Vedika Sangathan, which was involved in today’s attacks, has support allegedly from the Congress party and JD (S). ‘’I strongly condemn attacks on trucks from Maharashtra. However, the agitations are being organised with an eye on political gains by the Congress in next elections in Karnataka,’’ he alleged.
The Maharashtra Legislative Council Deputy Chairperson and Shiv Sena UBT deputy leader Ms Neelam Gorhe said that the time is ripe for the dissolution of the BJP led government in Maharashtra.
The medical education minister Mr Girish Mahajan said that the state government will complain against the Karnataka government to the Centre over the attacks on vehicles from Maharashtra.
Meanwhile, Former minister and a veteran Congress leader Mr Ashok Chavan demanded that the Shinde Fadnavis government should immediately lift the stay granted by the Shinde Fadnavis government on various development works especially in villages from border areas amid growing unrest among the villagers.
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