Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa has said that his government will not allow “forced shutdown” on 5 December called by pro-Kannada organizations against the decision to form the Maratha Development Board. The Chief Minister also warned of strong action against those who would defy his orders and the bandh was called.
Yeddyurappa reached Delhi on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the expansion of the cabinet with top leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The Chief Minister told reporters here, “We have set up the board for the welfare of Maratha communities living in the state. Marathas are also Hindu followers.”
He added, “We will take strict action if the forced bandh is called.”
After the announcement of the by-elections in Belagavi Lok Sabha seat and Basavakalyan and Muski assembly seats, the government has announced the formation of Maratha Development Board. Significantly, the Marathi speaking population is more in all three areas. Yeddyurappa also criticized Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister AjitPawar for promoting the “unprovoked” border dispute between the two states. He said that the decision of the Mahajan Commission is final.
AjitPawar had said on Tuesday that the all-round development of Maharashtra and the inclusion of Belgaum (Belagavi), Karwar and Nipani in the state was the dream of Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray.
He said, “let’s work to fulfil the dream of Balasaheb’s dream.”
It is to be noted that Karnataka and Maharashtra have been embroiled in a border dispute for decades.
Meanwhile, Congress leader and former Chief Minister of Karnataka Siddaramaiah on Wednesday slammed Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa for adopting a “divide and rule policy” by announcing the constitution of a Maratha development authority in the state.
“BS Yediyurappa as always is adopting divide and rule policy by establishing Maratha development authority. With only electoral benefits in mind, Yediyurappa is taking the unscientific route of establishing development bodies based on only castes,” Siddaramaiah tweeted.
His tweet further read, “BJP Karnataka, which has failed to compete on development agenda during elections, is destabilising social harmony through divisive politics. This is against democracy and social justice”.
“I strongly condemn any decision which is only intended to reap political benefits. There is a dispute between Kannadigas and Marathis for a long time now and with the announcement of Marathi development authority, CM of Karnataka is instigating Kannadigas and disrupting the peace,” he added.
Significantly, Yeddyurappa had formed a development board for the Golla community (Kadu Gollas), leading the BJP to victory in the byelection on Sira seat (Sira) of Tumkur in the by-election held recently on November 3. It is to be noted that before this move BJP could never win from this region. The opposition believes that BJP is eyeing the upcoming assembly elections, for which it wants to adopt the same formula.
It is worth mentioning that Brahmins and Arya Vaishya Board Development Corporation already exists in Karnataka.