Centre cannot remain mute spectator: Sharad Pawar on Maha-K’taka border row


PTI, Dec 8, 2022, 6:08 PM IST

Amid the simmering border dispute between Maharashtra and Karnataka, Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar on Thursday said the central government cannot remain a mute spectator. If power is misused to destroy the idea of a language medium and movement, there is bound to be a reaction. But, the Centre has turned a blind eye to it, Pawar said addressing a meeting of the NCP here.

The Maharashtra-Karnataka boundary dispute is not between the two states, but for the rights and justice of the Marathi- speaking people in the border areas of the neighbouring state, the former Union minister said.

On Wednesday, the issue of the border dispute between Maharashtra and Karnataka was raised in the Lok Sabha with NCP leader and Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule seeking the intervention of the Union home ministry in the matter.

Referring to it, Pawar said, ”Yesterday, the Lok Sabha Speaker told Supriya Sule that the issue is between two states and not an issue to be raised in Parliament. If Parliament will not look into the dispute, who will? The central government cannot be a mute spectator.” He said the Karnataka government has always taken a different stand on how the percentage of Kannada population can be increase in Belagavi in the southern state, which is located adjoining the Maharashtra border. They (Karnataka government) brought government offices to Belagavi. The winter session of the Karnataka legislature is also held in Belagavi to show Maharashtra has no right over the city, Pawar said.

Kannada is compulsory in schools there and children are not allowed to study Marathi, he said, adding that there are schools of all mediums in Maharashtra, he said.

”If power is misused to destroy the idea of language medium and movement, there is bound to be a reaction. Unfortunately, the Centre has turned a blind eye,” said the NCP chief. Raising the issue during Zero Hour in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, Sule said people of Maharashtra are getting ”beaten up” every day despite the BJP being the ruling party in both the states.

The border issue dates back to 1957 after the reorganisation of states on linguistic lines.

Maharashtra laid claim to Belagavi, which was part of the erstwhile Bombay Presidency as it has a sizeable Marathi-speaking population. It also laid claim to 814 Marathi-speaking villages which are currently part of the southern state.

Karnataka, however, considers the demarcation done on linguistic lines according to the States Reorganisation Act and the 1967 Mahajan Commission Report as final.

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