The ruling BJP in Karnataka is in deep trouble following the Maharashtra government’s recent announcement to extend the benefits of its health insurance scheme – Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Jan Arogya Yojana – to 865 villages bordering Belagavi, Uttara Kannada, Kalaburagi and Bidar. The April 3 decision is widely seen as an attempt to woo people and lay claim to these villages.
With the Assembly elections approaching, pressure is mounting on the state’s BJP leaders to stand firm against the Maharashtra movements. Incidentally, the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance rules Maharashtra.
Maharashtra’s announcement comes despite the intervention of Union Home Minister Amit Shah and advice to the chief ministers of the two states to exercise restraint in their statements and actions ahead of the elections.
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This is seen as the efforts of Maharashtra Chief Minister Mr. Eknath Shinde to strengthen Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (MES) in Belagavi district.
The MES is expected to stand for Karnataka Assembly elections in at least five constituencies: Nippani, Khanapur, Belagavi North, Belagavi South and Belagavi Rural. Since most of the 865 villages fall under these constituencies, the MES expects to reap rich dividends.
Congress is trying to take advantage of this electoral development by mounting an attack on the saffron party.
Political analysts believe that the real intention of the Maharashtra government is to send a message to the people of Maharashtra that it is keen to “reclaim” the “Marathi-speaking” areas that are now in Karnataka.
“All the parties that have ruled Maharashtra since 1956 have used the Maharashtra-Karnataka boundary issue for political purposes. They want the issue alive and they know that the issue cannot be decided by the Supreme Court,” said Ashok Chandargi, a Kannada. activist and political analyst.
Chandargi pointed out that it is common for people from Maharashtra and Karnataka to cross the border for treatment. So far, Karnataka has not thought of taking advantage of this cross-border movement politically. “However, Maharashtra requires people from Karnataka who travel to Maharashtra for free medical treatment to sign a declaration,” he says.
The declaration, under the health insurance scheme, requires the applicant to state that he is a Marathi speaking person and a resident of the village claimed by Maharashtra to be his.
The development received mixed responses from people on the ground while raking in linguistic sentiment.
Raju Birje, a resident of Mandoli village in Belagavi, said except for the education reservation, the other projects of the Maharashtra government for the people in the border areas were not widely known among the people. . Currently, people were in an election mood and no attention was paid to such announcements.
Anil Hegde, a resident of the village of Hindalga, says: “We were informed about the health insurance scheme by the leaders of the MES.
Acting Chairman of MES and former MLA Manohar Kinekar has said that a private hospital in Belagavi city has been set up by Maharashtra for its health programme.
“Ayushman Bharat program in Karnataka is much better”
Former Belagavi Rural MPP Sanjay Patil said: “We (K’taka) have already established an Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme providing benefits to all including Marathi speakers without discrimination, up to Rs 5 lakh.
Maharashtra government has announced Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Jan Arogya Yojana benefits for Marathi speaking residents in 865 villages in Karnataka over which it claims up to Rs 1.50 lakh and it would have no impact as the benefits of the scheme Karnataka’s health insurance rates were much higher than that of the neighbour, he said.