Karnataka hits back, vows special aid for Kannada schools in Maharashtra | India News

NEW DELHI: With the Supreme Court set to hear petitions on Karnataka-Maharashtra border dispute from Wednesday, the one-upmanship between the two states has escalated, with Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai on Tuesday announcing his government’s decision to offer special grants to Kannada-medium schools in Maharashtra and pension to Kannadigas in the neighbouring state who fought for “unification” of the state.
The move comes close on the heels of Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde promising pension to “freedom fighters” from Belagavi and other parts in Karnataka, which are claimed by Maharashtra. Shinde also spoke of extending benefits of Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Jan Arogya Yojana (cashless medical care) for such “freedom fighters”.
Maharashtra, since its inception in 1960, has been entangled in a dispute with Karnataka over the status of Belgaum (renamed Belagavi) and 80 other Marathi-speaking villages in the southern state.
The Karnataka chief minister on Tuesday expressed confidence of protecting the state’s borders and said his government had formed a strong legal team to present Karnataka’s case, which included ex-attorney general Mukul Rohatgi, senior advocate Shyam Divan, Karnataka’s ex-advocate general Uday Holla and advocate Maruti Jirale.
Shinde had on Monday set up a committee of 14 members to give suggestions and guide Maharashtra’s team of lawyers on its petition filed in the apex court in 2004.
Bommai further asserted that Karnataka was prepared to challenge the maintainability of the petition. The State Reorganisation Act of 1956 was passed under Article 3 of the Constitution and after the reorganisation of states, there was no instance of any review petition ever being considered, he claimed.
Bommai also cautioned Shinde against creating a row between the two states, which are in harmony.
“I want to tell the Maharashtra chief minister and the government not to create a controversy between states when there are harmonious relations, when we are treating everyone equally,” Bommai said.
“The border dispute is a political tool used by all parties in Maharashtra. But they will never succeed,” Bommai said.
With agency inputs

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