As the Maharashtra-Karnataka boundary row continues on the front-burner, Maharashtra's Congress unit president Nana Patole smells a conspiracy to divide Maharashtra, while MNS President Raj Thackeray asked Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai to 'shut-up' and avoid complicating the vexed issue, on Wednesday.
Patole said that the Karnataka Bharatiya Janata Party government is deliberately spoiling the peaceful environment with the attacks on Marathi people and their properties in the border districts, for which the Centre and Karnataka shall be responsible.
"All this points at a deliberate conspiracy to disintegrate Maharashtra... the Karnataka CM keeps making inflammatory statements, but the Maharashtra government is silent. We have exercised restraint so far but will not tolerate their bullying tactics anymore," Patole said sternly.
Virtually asking the Karnataka CM Bommai to 'shut' his mouth and refrain from making provocative statements, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray said Maharashtra is being unnecessarily harassed ahead of the Karnataka Assembly elections due next year.
Demanding an immediate end to the attacks on vehicles and Marathis in the border areas, Raj Thackeray said the border row should be settled through negotiations, but if needed, the MNS men will not be lacking in any manner in their response.
Accusing Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy CM Fadnavis of keeping 'silent', Congress Legislative Party Leader Balasaheb Thorat wondered if they are even interested in resolving the issue or not.
Others who have called for an amicable solution include Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar, state Leader of Opposition Ajit Pawar, Dr. Jitendra Awhad, National Spokesperson Clyde Crasto and others.
Shiv Sena (UBT) Chief Spokesperson and MP Sanjay Raut again demanded the resignation of Shinde for failing to protect the interests of the Marathi population in the borders.
In a counter-hit, referring to Sharad Pawar's 48-hour ultimatum to Karnataka, the state BJP President Chandrashekhar Bawankule urged him to refrain from making inciting statements and work to ensure a peaceful resolution of the issue.
Patole and Raj Thackeray reiterated that in a dispute between states, it's the duty of the Centre to intervene and work out a solution, but that does not seem to be happening.
Meanwhile, thousands of government and private buses, trucks laden with goods and essentials, medium or small private vehicles remained stranded as vehicular movement between the two states has practically been halted for the past over 24 hours, hitting thousands of people on both sides.
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