23 June, 2021

All On Board? Nah

A Bidar bypoll. The old, troubled waters around the Kannada-Maratha border are astir. BSY lobs a lollipop at Marathas, placates Lingayats with one. It’s a ‘development’ domino…

All On Board? Nah

Kannada activists have held out the threat of a strike next month if chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa doesn’t roll back his government’s recent decision to set up a welfare board for the Maratha community. The Karnataka government insists the proposed board will be just a development corporation, like numerous others in existence, to help communities in the Maratha fold. But critics point to its timing—a bypoll is due soon in the Bidar town of Basavakalyan, where there’s a sizeable Maratha population.

The original nomenclature of the board was Maratha Development Authority. Last week, however, the old border row sizzled again with Maharashtra deputy CM Ajit Pawar’s comment on Bal Thackeray’s dream of uniting Belgaum and Karwar with the western state—Pawar was speaking on the occasion of the Shiv Sena founder’s death anniversary. Pro-Kannada groups who took to the streets in protest also demanded to know why Karnataka was setting up an authority for Marathi speakers. The Karnataka government quickly clarified that community and...

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