Bengaluru: Calling the Maharashtra government’s order to extend the benefits of its health care scheme to 865 villages in Karnataka amid the ongoing border dispute between two states as an act that threatens the federal system, the Chief Minister of Karnataka, Basavaraj Bommai, warned on Wednesday of retaliatory measures if he is not withdrawn.
Opposition Leader in Karnataka Assembly Siddaramaiah said Maharashtra’s decision could not be tolerated. “The consequences will not be fair if he is not removed immediately.”
In a series of tweets, Bommai alleged that in the name of providing assurance to people on the Karnataka side of the border, the Maharashtra government sends them declaration letters stating that they belong to Maharashtra. “This is condemnable. If the Maharashtra government continues its insolent behavior, the Karnataka government will also set up a similar insurance scheme for the protection of Kannadigas on the Maharashtra side of the border.”
A Government Resolution (GR) extending the benefits of the ‘Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Jan Arogya Yojana’ scheme to villages in Karnataka, was released by Maharashtra on Monday.
The ordinance states that 865 villages of 12 tehsils in Belagavi, Karvar, Kalaburagi and Bidar were included in the “Yojana”.
“Even though the Karnataka-Maharashtra border dispute is before the Supreme Court, the Maharashtra government is trying to confuse the border areas of the two states. The order to insure some people on the Karnataka border is the height of the insolence and is an attempt to disrupt relations between the two states,” Bommai said.
Pointing out that Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde and Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis in a meeting chaired by Union Home Minister Amit Shah had agreed not to create any confusion over the border issue, he said that he was now issuing an order to implement the Babu Jagjivan Ram health insurance scheme for 865 villages in Karnataka, is an act that threatens the federal system.
“The government of Maharashtra should immediately withdraw its order and, respecting the instructions given by Amit Shah, should work to safeguard relations between the two states,” he added.
Meanwhile, Siddaramaiah said the Chief Minister of Maharashtra did not value the assurances and words of the Union Home Minister and the Chief Minister of Karnataka regarding the boundary issue, and called on Bommai to act in this regard.
“The Belagavi border dispute is in court. We hope the Kannadigas will get justice. Meanwhile, it is condemnable that Maharashtra is doing the wrong to dig into the border issue for political purposes. The Kannadigas will not tolerate this,” said the former chief minister added.
The issue of borders dates back to 1957 when states were reorganized on linguistic grounds. Maharashtra has claimed Belagavi, which was part of the former Bombay Presidency, as it has a large Marathi-speaking population. He also claimed more than 800 Marathi speaking villages which are presently part of Karnataka.
Karnataka contends that the demarcation made on linguistic grounds in accordance with the States Reorganization Act and the Mahajan Commission Report of 1967 is final.
And, in an assertion that Belagavi was an integral part of the state, Karnataka built the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha there, modeled after the Vidhana Soudha, the seat of the Legislature and Secretary of State, in Bengaluru.