Belagavi: Slamming Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackrey for raking up the inter-state border row, Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister Govind Karjol on Sunday claimed that the Maratha king Chhatrapti Shivaji was a ‘Kannadiga’.
“Thackrey does not know history. Shivaji’s forefather Belliyappa was a Kannadiga from Soratur in Karnataka’s Gadag district. When drought struck Gadag, he (Belliyappa) migrated to Maharashtra, and Shivaji was the fourth generation of his family,” Karjol told reporters in Karnataka’s Belagavi.
At a book launch on the border dispute between the two states in Mumbai on January 27, Thackeray said areas dominated by Marathi-speaking people in Karnataka like Belagavi, Karwar and Nippani should be declared as the ‘Union Territory’ till the Supreme Court gave its final verdict in the decades old case.
Asserting that the Mahajan Commission’s report in 1968 upheld Karnataka’s claim on Belagavi, Karwar, Nippani and 800 villages in the border areas,” Karjol said that Thackeray had been raising the issue to divert attention from the ‘infighting’ in the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition government, which was formed by Shiva Sena, Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on November 28, 2019 in Maharashtra.
“Thackrey should at least know now that Shivaji, who is Shiv Sena’s icon and named the party after the Maratha king was a Kannadiga by origin,” reiterated Karjol, who hails from Bijapur (Vijayapura) in the state’s north west region.
Considered to be the founder of the Maratha empire, Shivaji Bhonsale (1630-1680) was crowned emperor (Chhatrapati) in 1674 at Raigad in the Konkan region of Maharashtra.
Echoing Karjol, the state’s another Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi said as Belagavi was part of then Bombay province or presidency during the British rule, Mumbai should be part of Karnataka and should be declared as Union Territory till the apex court gave its verdict.
“As Thackeray could not implement pro-people policies during the Covid pandemic, he was losing popularity in the neighbouring state (Maharashtra).
Savadi, who hails from Athani in Belagavi district, also said the MVA coalition government had failed on various counts in Maharashtra.
Thackeray said, “When the case is being heard in the Supreme Court, the Karnataka government renames Belgaum (as Belagavi), declares it as its second capital, constructs a legislature building and holds one legislature session there every year. Isn’t this a contempt of court,” thundered Thackeray.
Authored by Deepak Pawar, an officer in the Maharashtra’s boundary dispute cell, the 530-page book – “Maharashtra-Karnataka Seemavad: Sangharsh Aani Sankalp'” (Maharashtra-Karnataka boundary dispute: struggle and pledge) gives details of the dispute between the two states.
Belagavi, about 500km northwest of Bengaluru, was part of the erstwhile Bombay Presidency during the British rule but was given to Mysore state during the reorganisation of the states on linguistic grounds in 1956.
When Maharashtra made claim to the border district on the basis that there were more Marathi-speaking people living in Belagavi and hundreds of its villages, which are part of Karnataka, the central government constituted the Mahajan Commission in 1967 to settle the inter-state boundary dispute.
Though the Commission upheld Karnataka’s claim on Belagavi and about 800 villages on demographic data showing more Kannada-speaking people residing in them, Maharashtra filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the Mahajan report and the case is still pending in the top court.