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Maha, K’taka prepare for legal battle over decades-old dispute

The border dispute between Maharashtra and Karnataka is in the news again and both states are preparing for a legal battle over the decades-old dispute. Days after Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde said he would protect the interests of the Marathi-speaking population living in border areas in Karnataka, CM Basavaraj Bommai said he is “seriously considering” making a claim on the Jath taluk in neighboring Maharashtra.

Shinde has also appointed cabinet ministers Chandrakant Patil and Shambhuraj Desai to coordinate the lawsuit on the matter with a legal team. On the other hand, Bommai said Karnataka is considering providing grants to Kannada medium schools in Maharashtra and providing pensions to Kannadiga freedom fighters and people who fought for the unification of Karnataka and are currently residing in Maharashtra.

Bommai told reporters Monday that the state has formed a team of senior attorneys to fight the case in Apex court when it comes to court. The team includes former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, Shyam Diwan, former Attorney General of Karnataka Uday Holla and Maruti Jirale.

“The team has made all preparations to challenge the case (at the Supreme Court). Tomorrow I will also have a video conference with these lawyers,” said Bommai, claiming that the enforcement of the case has not yet been decided, let alone the main application.

The CM said that under Article 3 of the Constitution, the State Reorganization Act has been passed. After the reorganization of the states, no request for review has been considered in the country, he added.

Bommai claimed that politics in Maharashtra depended only on border rows. “What has happened in Maharashtra is that the border dispute itself has become a political object. Regardless of party membership, all political parties raise the issue for their political reasons. But she will never succeed.”

ALSO READ: As Shinde, Bommai ‘Ramp Up’ Tussle, Genesis of the Maharashtra-Karnataka Border Row Explained

Since its establishment in 1960, Maharashtra has been embroiled in a dispute with Karnataka over the status of Belgaum (also called Belagavi) district and 80 other Marathi-speaking villages, which are under the control of the southern state.

Karnataka’s CM stressed that the state government is strong enough to protect its borders. “Moreover, when it comes to the state of Kannada, the language and the water, we are all fighting united. We will also fight together in the coming days,” said Bommai.

He said he will write to the leader of the opposition and the leaders of other political parties on this issue.

Senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah had also warned the state government to wake up to the move of the Maharashtra government.

“The Government of Maharashtra has taken a special interest in the Belagavi border issue. @BJP4Karnataka must wake up immediately and convene a meeting of all parties to discuss the way forward,” the longtime congressman tweeted.

(with PTI inputs)

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