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Declare Belagavi a Union Territory, demands Raut
Mumbai: Even as the simmering border dispute between Maharashtra and Karnataka spilled onto roads on Tuesday, Shiv Sena - Uddhav Balasaheb Thackery leader Sanjay Raut on Wednesday demanded Belagavi be declared a Union Territory and claimed incidents of violence in the disputed border region cannot occur without “Delhi’s support”. He also hit out at Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, saying the state government appeared weak and helpless to counter such attacks. Raut also alleged attempts are being made to make Maharashtra unstable as no chief minister of Karnataka had ever staked claim to (villages in) Solapur and Sangli.
Raut in a tweet on Wednesday targeted the Central government by claiming that Marathi people and vehicles from Maharashtra cannot be attacked in Belagavi without “Delhi’s support”. “Workers of the Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti have been arrested. The game of ending Marathi selfesteem by breaking its backbone has started. The attacks in Belagavi are part of the same conspiracy. Get up Marathas get up!” Raut said. Later, talking to reporters, Raut said Belagavi and surrounding Marathi-speaking areas along the Karnataka-Maharashtra border be declared as a Union Territory. “If Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has guts, he should demand the disputed areas be declared as a union territory immediately,” he said. Raut said people are ready to go to Belagavi under the leadership of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar. “We don’t know what is happening. There is a BJP government at the Centre, there is a BJP government in Karnataka and also in Maharashtra,” Raut said.