Mumbai: Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut on Tuesday asked how will the Eknath Shinde-led Maharashtra government which tolerates "insult" to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj ensure justice for the Marathi-speaking population of Belgaum and other border areas.
Talking to reporters in New Delhi, his first visit to the national capital after he got out on bail in an alleged money laundering case, he also asked how many times Shinde and BJP minister Chandrakant Patil had visited Belgaum in Karnataka.
Chief Minister Shinde was reportedly going to raise the issue of Belgaum with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Raut said, demanding that the conversation between the two be made public.
"Neither Chandrakant Patil nor Eknath Shinde visited Belgaum as ministers. The Karnataka CM should be asked to withdraw the false cases registered against the youth in border areas," the Rajya Sabha MP added.
Maharashtra has a long-pending border dispute with Karnataka since the formation of the state when some areas with sizable Marathi-speaking population, like Belgaum, were included in Karnataka.
"How will this chief minister, deputy chief minister and the government who tolerate an insult to Shivaji Maharaj give any justice to the people of the border areas," Raut, a key leader of the Uddhav Thackeray faction of the Shiv Sena, further asked.
He was apparently referring to the recent controversial remark of Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari that Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was an icon of "olden days".
On Monday, Shinde and Deputy Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis held a meeting to discuss the Belgaum issue.
The government also appointed ministers Chandrakant Patil and Shambhuraj Desai to coordinate with the legal team which is handling the litigation related to Maharashtra-Karnataka dispute in the Supreme Court.
Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Monday said that his government had made all preparations to argue its case in the apex court.
Raut said the Karnataka government was more alert about the border dispute.