The escalating border dispute between Maharashtra and Karnataka took a strange turn on Thursday, with Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi claiming that Mumbai should be a part of the southern state.
"Mumbai should be included in Karnataka. Until that is done, I request Central govt to declare Mumbai as a Union Territory," he was quoted as saying. The remark comes mere hours after Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray made a similar statement about Belgaum.
It must be mentioned here that while Belgaum has long been caught up in the dispute, owing to its location and demographic, Mumbai has steered clear of the debate for the most part. "Earlier, we (parts of Belagavi) were a part of Mumbai region. My demand and the demand of the people in this region is that Mumbai be attached to Karnataka...I demand that the Central government ensure that Mumbai should be declared a Union territory. The issue will be resolved once we demand Mumbai," he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
On Wednesday, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had accused the Karnataka government of deliberately changing the name of the disputed Belagavi district to 'Belgaum' while the matter is in court, and threatened to make it a part of Maharashtra. "Looking at atrocities of Marathi speaking people in that area, our Govt will approach SC to declare that part as Union Territory till the matter is in court," he had said.
The Chief Minister also released a book in Marathi about the border dispute. Called 'Maharashtra-Karnataka Border dispute: Struggle and determination', the book was released at an event in Mumbai with leaders from all parties involved in the ruling coalition present at the event.