Hours after some Maharashtra vehicles were attacked and pelted with stones in Belgaum border district of Karnataka, leaders across political parties in this state breathed fire at the neighbour, with warnings, ultimatum and dark threats of repercussions, here on Tuesday.
The state political atmosphere suddenly witnessed a raise in the temperature when certain activists of the Kannada Rakshan Vedike targeted buses and trucks from Maharashtra, resulting in huge traffic chaos on the Belgaum border.
There were reactions in Pune and Kolhapur when Shiv Sena (UBT) and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena activists smeared black or saffron paint on Karnataka buses and trucks, deflated tyres and shouted anti-Karnataka slogans.
Rattled by the reactions, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis called up Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and conveyed this state’s displeasure to him in strong terms, said Bharatiya Janata Party Spokesperson Keshav Upadhye.
In turn, the Karnataka CM assured giving escort to this state’s vehicles and of taking strict action against the perpetrators of the violence on Tuesday there, said Upadhye.
Commenting that Fadnavis’ plea ‘had no impact’, Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar served a 48-hour ultimatum to the adjoining state to normalise the situation in the border areas failing which he (Pawar) would personally visit and express solidarity with the Marathi-speaking people there.
Other NCP leaders like Supriya Sule, MP, and Leader of Opposition Ajit Pawar also slammed the ruling alliance of BJP and Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena’s two ministers Chandrakant Patil and Shambhuraj Desai who were prevented from going to Belgaum on Tuesday.
Pawar raised questions why the disturbances took place on a symbolic day like the 66th death anniversary of the Chief Architect of the Indian Constitution B.R. Ambedkar, and pointed out that Bommai’s attitude could affect the integrity of the country.
However, the BSS Spokesperson Krishna Hegde blamed the Congress which was in power for 50 years in both the states for not taking steps to resolve the issue.
“They created the M.C. Mahajan Commission which was rejected by the states involved. Now their leaders are adding fuel to the fire,” claimed Hegde.
Sena (UBT)’s ex-Minister Aditya Thackeray and Chief Spokesperson Sanjay Raut attacked the BJP-SS saying the Maharashtra government ‘got scared’ by the Karnataka CM’s scolding, and targeted the neighbouring state for the injustice meted out to the Marathis in that state and called upon the Shinde-Fadnavis government to immediately resolve the row.
State Congress President Nana Patole also took shots at the Karnataka government for the violence and BJP leaders like Sudhir Mungantiwar said that Maharashtra will not keep quiet at the neighbouring state’s behaviour.
In a strong attack, Sharad Pawar said that “an atmosphere of fear” has been created in the boundary villages owing to Bommai’s statements, and called for an urgent and amicable solution to the issue with proper coordination by the CMs of both the states.
The NCP supremo flayed Bommai’s statements staking claim to more villages from Maharashtra, and continuously talking on the ticklish issue which has flared up sentiments in the boundary districts.
A delegation of state MPs belonging to the ruling alliance is scheduled to meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday evening, the outcome of which is awaited.
Meanwhile, in an attempt to cool down the tempers, the state transport bus services serving the two states have been suspended temporarily late this evening, even as some agitated Sena (UBT) workers staged roadblocks against Karnataka vehicles in the border areas of Kolhapur.