BELAGAVI: While people of Karnataka are gearing up to celebrate Karnataka Rajyotsava (Karnataka Formation Day) on November 1, the Maharashtra government has shockingly adopted an "anti-Karnataka" stand.
In the cabinet meeting in Mumbai on Thursday, the Maharashtra government gave a call to all its ministers to tie black bands on their hands in support of the 'Black Day' expected to be observed by pro-Maharashtra groups in the Belagavi region on the occasion of Rajyotsava on Saturday.
Maharashtra PWD Minister Eknath Shinde, who also is the minister for Karnataka-Maharashtra border dispute, proposed at the cabinet meeting that all the ministers should tie black bands on November 1 to support Marathi activists from the Belagavi region. Chagan Bhujbal, another minister for the Karnataka-Maharashtra dispute, present in the cabinet meeting gave his nod to Shinde's proposal.
All ministers in the Shivsena-NCP-Congress government in Maharashtra will be wearing black bands on their hands on November 1 when the entire Karnataka will be celebrating Rajyotsava.
Several leading Kannada leaders have slammed the Maharashtra government for trying to provoke Karnataka and its people. "At a time when the boundary dispute between Karnataka and Maharashtra is pending before the Supreme Court, it is unfair on the part of Maharashtra to launch such an agitation. Both the states must wait for the Supreme Court to decide on the merger of several areas of Karnataka into it," said noted Kannada leader Shivangouda Patil.
Ever since the reorganisation of states, Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (MES) has been observing 'Black Day' on the occasion of Rajyotsava in the Belagavi region in protest against the merger of Belagavi and several other regions on the border with Karnataka. Maharashtra had moved the Supreme Court more than a decade ago demanding the merger of Belagavi and other regions into it.
"It is the first time the Maharashtra government has decided to rally behind the activists who are observing 'Black Day' in Belagavi on November 1. When a case filed by Maharashtra is pending before the apex court, how could the same state launch agitations over the issue? It is a clear case of contempt of court," said noted Kannada leader Ashok Chandargi.
The Action Committee of Kannada Organisations headed by Chandargi in Belagavi has written to Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa to take serious cognizance of the development and initiate necessary measures to counter Maharashtra's "anti-Karnataka" stance.
Meanwhile, the state government has denied permission for pro-Maharashtra groups to observe 'Black Day' in Belagavi on November 1. However, the groups have submitted letters seeking permission to all the authorities concerned in Belagavi and are expected to get the official nod by October 31.