Bal Thackeray had vowed not to enter Belgaum
By Sarjoo Katkar | Published: 18th November 2012 10:33 AM |
"I will not set foot on Belgaum's soil till it is transferred to Maharashtra." These were late Shiv Sena chief Balasaheb Thackeray word's while addressing a meeting of pro-Maharashtrians at Sambahji Udyan Ground during his visit to Belgaum in 1973.
Shiv Sena had taken up the Karnataka- Maharashtra border issue since its birth in 1966. It had organised several agitations to pressure the Union government to transfer disputed areas in Karnataka to Maharashtra. In 1986, when the Samyukta Maharashtra Seema Samithi had launched a month-long agitation in Belgaum, Bal Thackeray had sent a group of 100 Shiv Sainiks led by then Shiv Sena MLA and former Mumbai Mayor Chagan Bhujabal to Belgaum to hold an agitation which later turned violent. Thackeray always supported the border agitation of pro-Maharashtrians of Belgaum.
MES leaders tried several times to invite Thackeray to Belgaum to address either the "Black Day" or Martyrs' Day functions. However, he did not oblige. This reporter had an opportunity to meet Thackeray at Mumbai in the seventies at his residence Matoshri in Kala Nagar, Bandra. Asked why he hated Kannadigas, Thackeray had said that he never hated Kannadigas but he wanted justice as Marathi dominated areas were "dumped" in Karnataka for no reason. The Shiv Sena leader called his personal bodyguard Vasanth Shetty and said Shetty was a Kannadiga from Mangalore. "If I hated Kannadigas, why would I appoint a Kannadiga as my personal bodyguard?" he had questioned.