In the wake of the simmering Karnataka-Maharashtra border dispute, Union Home Minister Amit Shah asked the chief ministers of both states not to stake their respective claims on the border areas until the Supreme Court gave a final verdict on the matter.
After the Maharashtra government and a delegation of Parliamentarians from the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) approached Shah multiple times, seeking his intervention on the border dispute, he held a meeting with Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and his Maharashtra counterpart Eknath Shinde in New Delhi on Wednesday, 14 December.
Karnataka’s Home Minister Araga Jnanendra and Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who holds the Home Affairs portfolio in the state, were also present in the meeting.
This meeting was said to have been called to defuse the tensions between the two states, where violence was reported over the border dispute in the previous weeks.
The North Western Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NWKRTC) and Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) had to even stop bus services due to this violence.
ಮಹಾರಾಷ್ಟ್ರ – ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದ ನಡುವಿನ ಗಡಿ ವಿವಾದವನ್ನು 2 ರಾಜ್ಯಗಳ ಮುಖ್ಯಮಂತ್ರಿಗಳೊಂದಿಗೆ ಸಕಾರಾತ್ಮಕವಾಗಿ ಚರ್ಚಿಸಲಾಯಿತು & ವಿವಾದವನ್ನು ಸಾಂವಿಧಾನಿಕ ಮಾರ್ಗದ ಮೂಲಕ ಬಗೆಹರಿಸಲು ಸಹಮತಿಸಲಾಯಿತು.
ಇದರೊಂದಿಗೆ ಸುಪ್ರೀಂ ಕೋರ್ಟ್ನ ತೀರ್ಪಿನವರೆಗೆ ಯಾವುದೇ ರಾಜ್ಯಗಳು ಪರಸ್ಪರರ ಭೂಮಿಯ ಮೇಲೆ ಹಕ್ಕು ಚಲಾಯಿಸುವಂತಿಲ್ಲ ಎಂದು ನಿರ್ಧರಿಸಲಾಯಿತು. pic.twitter.com/LUiWV06OLJ
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) December 14, 2022
Union home minister urges de-escalation
Stating that the border dispute could be settled only through Constitutional means and not on the streets, Shah said: “Until the apex court gives its verdict on the border dispute, neither Maharashtra nor Karnataka will make any claims on the border areas.”
He told reporters in Delhi: “A six-members ministerial committee comprising three ministers each from the two states will be constituted to discuss the contentious issues on the border dispute. The committee will also work on resolving the other issues between the two states.”
Shah added: “People, pilgrims, and the business sector should not be caused any harm over the border dispute in both states.”
Stressing for peace in both states: “Both the chief ministers agreed to form the committee, headed by a senior Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, to look after the law-and-order situation.”
He also appealed to the Karnataka and Maharashtra Opposition parties not to politicise the border dispute.
“For the interest of people, mainly residing in border areas, of both the states, I appeal to the Opposition parties not to politicise the border dispute,” he said.
“We have to wait for the outcome of the committee formed to resolve this issue and the verdict of the Supreme Court, I am confident that the Nationalist Congress Party, Congress, and Uddhav Thackeray faction [of the Shiv Sena] will cooperate,” Shah expressed confidence.
In the meeting, he reiterated the need for both the state governments, where the BJP is in power, to maintain controversies at bay with the polls around the corner in Karnataka, claimed reliable sources.
Bommai told reporters after the meeting: “Shah asked to maintain harmony in the border areas. The dispute should be resolved only through Constitutional means. We have been told not to make provocative statements on the matter.”
Fadnavis objects to Bommai tweet
Meanwhile, Fadnvais objected to a tweet from Bommai, where the latter claimed Solapur and Akkalkot belonged to Karnataka.
The tweet came after the Eknath Shinde-led Maharashtra government claimed 865 villages in Karnataka.
ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದ ಗಡಿ ಜಿಲ್ಲೆಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಒಂದಿಂಚೂ ಜಾಗವನ್ನು ಬಿಟ್ಟು ಕೊಡುವ ಪ್ರಶ್ನೆಯೇ ಇಲ್ಲ. ಮಹಾರಾಷ್ಟ್ರದಲ್ಲಿರುವ ಕನ್ನಡ ಭಾಷಿಕ ಪ್ರದೇಶಗಳಾದ ಸೊಲ್ಲಾಪುರ, ಅಕ್ಕಲಕೋಟೆ ಕರ್ನಾಟಕಕ್ಕೆ ಸೇರಬೇಕೆನ್ನುವುದು ನಮ್ಮ ಆಗ್ರಹವಿದೆ.
— Basavaraj S Bommai (@BSBommai) November 23, 2022
This enraged not only the leaders in Maharashtra but also the various Maratha organisations.
Condemning the statement, members of the Maratha Mahasangh defaced Karnataka buses in Pune. This was the first incident of vandalism reported over the border dispute.
Sources also claimed that Shah expressed displeasure over the tweet.
Shah blames fake Twitter accounts
Meanwhile, the Union home minister, in conversation with reporters, highlighted the role of fake Twitter accounts spreading conspiracies to provoke the people and causing law-and-order problems over the border dispute.
He told reporters: “In the meeting, it also came to light that fake Twitter accounts played a big role in provoking people. The accounts were created with the names of leaders and used to make inciting tweets on the matter.”
He added: “It is a grave issue because these fake tweets provoked the sentiments of people from both states. We have decided to register FIRs against such fake operators. We will expose them.”
In a contradiction to the allegations, though, Karnataka’s Chief Minister Office (CMO) claimed that it had not found any fake Twitter account impersonating party leaders or making provocative tweets on the border dispute.
Meanwhile, NCP leader and Maharashtra Assembly Leader of the Opposition Ajit Pawar demanded that the Union government nab the “mastermind” behind the fake Twitter accounts.
He also said: “If the Karnataka chief minister had not made unnecessary statements (referring to Bommai’s claim on Jath and other border areas of Maharashtra), then there would not have been any tensions on the border dispute.”