The Maharashtra government on Tuesday lodged a formal protest with the Karnataka government taking objection to certain “threatening remarks” made by a cabinet minister against elected leaders from the disputed areas of Belgaum and surroundings.
In a letter to Chief Minister S. Siddaramaiah, Maharashtra Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil – who is Nodal Minister for Maharashtra-Karnataka Border Dispute – strongly protested at the comments made by Karnataka Urban Development Minister Roshan Baig at an event on Tuesday.
Baig reportedly warned that the Karnataka government plans to enact legislation prohibiting elected representatives and legislators from the disputed boundary areas from saying or greeting “Jai Maharashtra” in public, and that violators would be removed from their elected posts.
“This statement is shocking…being ultra vires…The statement by Baig is not only a provoking statement but also is a violation of the Constitution as the same is threatening the freedom of speech ensured by the Constitution of India which needless to say is supreme,” Patil said in the letter.
He pointed out that the Maharashtra-Karnataka boundary dispute is pending since decades with multiple issues involved in it, and is currently awaiting the Supreme Court verdict.
Patil urged Siddaramaiah that till the final judgement of the Supreme Court, “it is totally improper and incorrect on behalf of a responsible cabinet minister of Karnataka to pass a public statement of this nature”.
Expressing hope that the Karnataka government would take this matter seriously, which could be “a personal opinion of Baig”, Patil asked Siddaramaiah to condemn it.
However, he made it clear that if such things continue, the Maharashtra government would be compelled to resort to legal remedies to protect the Constitutional rights of the affected people.
Baig’s statements evoked strong reactions and public protests from leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena, and the opposition Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena and others.