Mumbai belongs to Maha, will always remain part of state: Ajit

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Mumbai, Jan 28 (PTI) A day after Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi demanded that Mumbai be made part of his state, his Maharashtra counterpart Ajit Pawar on Thursday said everyone knows that the metropolis belongs to Maharashtra and that it would always remain its part.

The NCP, which is part of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra, asked the BJP to come clear on Savadi's demand.

The BJP currently rules Karnataka.

Savadi had on Wednesday said Mumbai should be made part of Karnataka and urged the Centre to declare it a Union Territory until then.

His remarks came after Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said that areas dominated by Marathi-speaking people on the state's border with Karnataka should be declared a Union Territory till the Supreme Court gives its final verdict on the issue.

Talking to reporters, Ajit Pawar said, 'He (Savadi) took Mumbai's name to appease the people of Karnataka after our chief minister (Uddhav Thackeray) made the remarks.' 'Mumbai belongs to Maharashtra. It was ours yesterday, is ours today and will be ours in the future too. Nobody can change this. Everyone knows it. Hence, there is no need to pay attention to what he said. In my opinion, he should be neglected,' he said.

'What is the relation between the demand Thackeray had made and the demand for declaring Mumbai as a Union Territory? It may be a poor attempt to appease the people of Karnataka.

There is no logic in it (Savadi's demand),' the senior NCP leader said.

Pawar said Karnataka had taken certain steps in the past years to show that Marathi-speaking areas in the southern state were its own.

'But what we say, and that is why we had approached the Supreme Court, and even today it is the state government's stand, that when such an issue between two states crops up, then the Centre should intervene and find a way out. And that way out should be found out sensibly and not in a one-sided manner,' he added.

The NCP asked the BJP leaders to clarify their stand on the issue.

Maharashtra NCP spokesperson Mahesh Tapase asked state BJP president Chandrakant Patil and Leader of Opposition in Assembly Devendra Fadnavis whether they agree with Savadi's demand.

In a video statement, Tapase asked Patil and Fadnavis to give a befitting reply to Savadi 'if they are with Maharashtra'.

'I want to ask Patil and Fadnavis whether they agree with the demand made by Savadi. Do you want to make Mumbai a Union Territory?' he asked.

'The BJP should explain its position on the issue. It is expected of you to give a befitting reply to Savadi if you are with Maharashtra,' he added. PTI ENM NP NP