Political parties in Maharashtra, including the Shiv Sena and the NCP, have lashed out at Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi for saying that Mumbai should be included in Karnataka and made a Union Territory till the issue is resolved.
"Earlier, we (parts of Belagavi) were a part of Mumbai region, my demand and the people of this region is that Mumbai should be attached to Karnataka...I demand that the Centre ensures that Mumbai is declared a Union Territory,” Savadi was quoted as saying.
Savadi’s statement came hours after Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said that the Marathi-speaking areas along the Maharashtra-Karnataka border in Belgaum, Karwar, Nippani, Bidar be declared as a Union Territory by the Centre till the Supreme Court rules on the issue.
Thackeray had said the statement in the presence of NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, top leaders of the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi government, including Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, Balasaheb Thorat, Eknath Shinde, Chhagan Bhujbal and Leader of the Opposition in the Council Pravin Darekar.
The statement of Savadi, who hails from Belagavi, has caused a political furore in Maharashtra.
NCP chief spokesperson Mahesh Tapase wanted to know whether the state BJP leadership agrees with what Savadi has stated.
“The Deputy Chief Minister (Laxman Savadi) of the BJP demands that Mumbai should be part of Karnataka,” Tapase said, wanting to know from state BJP president Chandrakant Patil and Leader of the Opposition in Assembly Devendra Fadnavis their position on the statement.
Thackeray’s close aide and Shiv Sena chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut said, “There are Kannada schools and organisations in Mumbai...the government here always supports them....does the Karnataka government support Marathi schools in Belgaum?”
Raut, a Rajya Sabha member, urged Savadi to come to Mumbai and speak to the Kannada industrialists and hoteliers here and know their opinion.