BELGAUM: With Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray ending his silence in the border dispute between Karnataka and Maharashtra on Wednesday by asking his nephew and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray to ‘shut up’ and speak only after gaining knowledge about the dispute, it has emerged that the issue has caused a chasm within the Thackeray clan.
The Shiv Sena chief went on to describe the MNS chief’s advisory to pro-Maharashtra groups of Belgaum to learn Kannada and live in harmony there as “bakwaas” (nonsense).
Raj Thackeray’s statement, it must be remembered, had elicited widespread resentment in Belgaum, with the pro-Maharashtra outfits burning his effigies expressing their outrage.
The MNS chief on Monday issued a statement, without naming any leaders, that the so-called leaders of Maharashtra are deceiving the pro-Maharashtrians of Belgaum by falsely assuring them that Belgaum would be soon be merged with Maharashtra. He added that he will not issue any such statements. “I will stick to my stand and am prepared to repeat it anywhere,” Raj Thackeray had said.
This elicited a barbed response from Bal Thackeray’s son, Uddhav, too, who on Wednesday was quoted by the Media as saying that when the Marathis of Belgaum were in jail for demanding its merger with Maharashtra, Raj, by issuing such statements, was only “wetting his bed”.
“The MNS chief must probably be issuing such statements after being lulled into thinking that they are not his voters,” Uddhav Thackeray said.
“Belgaum, Nippani and Karwar, which were once part of Maharashtra, are in Karnataka; Marathi outifts are fighting for their rights in Karnataka,” he asserted.