Focus on culture, not border row: Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Belagavi

Maharashtra minister goes soft on boundary dispute, says issue will be settled by apex court, calls for unity 

Published: 19th January 2020 06:13 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th January 2020 06:13 AM   |  A+A-

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut at Sambra Airport, in Belagavi, on Saturday | express

By Express News Service

BELAGAVI: Contrary to the Shiv Sena’s hardcore pro-Maharashtra stand on the boundary row between Maharashtra and Karnataka, Sena’s firebrand leader Sanjay Raut said in Belagavi that the pro-Marathi population in Belagavi should focus on conservation of Marathi language, culture and its history, rather than revolting against the Karnataka government over the vexed dispute.

Softening his stand on the long-drawn dispute, Raut said the Maharashtra government is pursuing the boundary dispute case in the Supreme Court seriously, so Marathi people in Belagavi should desist from resorting to extreme steps on this tangled issue.’’He was invited for a special interview as part of the 45th Barrister Nath Pai lecture series organized by the Sarvajanik Vachanalaya in Belagavi on Saturday. After inaugurating the series, Raut said that until a lasting solution was found in court, Marathi people must focus on bolstering their culture, language and their obsession for it. 

Giving a lecture to pro-Maharashtra leaders, Raut exposed the lack of unity among leaders of the Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (MES) in Belagavi region, while highlighting the fact that MES, which once won five assembly seats in Belagavi, was reduced to nothing today. Echoing the advice of Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Raut advised MES leaders to shun their differences and groupism to come on a single platform to wage protests for their rights.

He also said that he would try to arrange a meeting between Thackeray and Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa to fulfil the demands of Marathi linguists in border areas.“I am confident that this will yield a positive result. We have always treated Karnataka’s ministers well in Maharashtra, but I was hurt when our health minister (Rajendra Patil) was treated badly when he came to lay a wreath on martyrs in Belagavi yesterday,’’ he said.

On his stand on CAA and NRC, Raut said, “This law is created to divide the people of the country. Shiv Sena never ran governments on the basis of religion. If that happens, India will become Pakistan. Although I am a strong follower of Hinduism, in a meet of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind recently, I made my stand clear that this law divides citizens on religious lines.” 

It is everyone’s duty to respect language and culture. Just as Kannada schools are conserved in Maharashtra, Marathi schools must be protected in Karnataka, he said. “We have a lot of admiration for celebrated Kannada writers like Shivaram Karanth, Girish Karnad, musicians Bhimsen Joshi and Gangubai Hangal,’’ he said.


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