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Devendra Fadnavis: 'Lowly Politics' Behind Demands By Some Villages To Merge With Karnataka, Gujarat

Maharashtra Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis' revelation came amidst a charged political atmosphere in the state over the festering border row with Karnataka.

Maharashtra Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis
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Intelligence report suggests the demands made by some villages on Maharashtra's border for a merger with neighbouring states was part of a design and office-bearers of certain political parties were involved, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Sunday.

Addressing a press conference on the eve of the winter session of the state legislature in Nagpur, Fadnavis said these office-bearers have been resorting to “lowly politics” by holding meetings and putting forth proposals before the border villages for merging with neighbouring states.

Merger demands part of a 'design' to vitiate the atmosphere: Fadnavis

Fadnavis' revelation came amidst a charged political atmosphere in the state over the festering border row with Karnataka. In the last few weeks, demands were raised by some villages situated in border areas to merge with Karnataka, Gujarat and other states. Fadnavis, who also holds the Home portfolio, said it was made to appear the border dispute has arisen only after the Shinde-led government came to power (in June this year).

“As per the intelligence report which indicates that all these demands for a merger with other neighbouring states were part of a design…some said we want to merge with Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh…the government has all the information of office-bearers of the political party who did this,” Fadnavis said. He said the government will present this information before the House at an appropriate time. 

Some leaders of certain parties are purposely vitiating the atmosphere in Maharashtra, Fadnavis added. “On the one hand, in other states, all parties are coming together and raising the issue of the border dispute. Here, office-bearers of some political parties are doing lowly politics by holding meetings and bringing up proposals that we (villages) have to go to merge with other states,” he said.

Districts demanding merger with Karnataka, Gujarat

Earlier in the day, the Leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly, Ajit Pawar, said while the merger of 865 villages having a Marathi-speaking population in Bidar, Nipani and Belgavi in Karnataka is still pending, many villages from border areas in Maharashtra have been demanding to integrate with neighbouring states.

"Such a thing has never happened in the last 62 years," Pawar had said, referring to the demands made by some villages along the Gujarat and Karnataka borders seeking to merge with the neighbouring states claiming the lack of development in their parent state Maharashtra.

“If Ajit (Pawar) Dada has not realised this then we will also send these names (of office-bearers) to him,” Fadnavis added. He said villages in Jat taluka in Sangli district had passed a resolution to merge with Karnataka in 2013 when the Congress-NCP was in power. 

Maharashtra government's targeted welfare initiatives 

In 2016, water was supplied to 77 villages. Current chief minister Eknath Shinde is supplying water to remaining villages, Fadnavis added. 

CM Shinde said Union Home Minister Amit Shah held a meeting earlier this month to resolve the Maharashtra-Karnataka border dispute and the matter has been taken up seriously. He said the schemes for the border villages were stopped for some time but are restarted by the state government. 

The chief minister said the expansion of the Mhaisal irrigation scheme has been approved with an estimated cost of Rs 2,000 crore. This will also make water available for irrigation to 48 villages in Jat village.

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(With inputs from PTI)

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