Earlier today, Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut, who is known for his indiscreet utterances, threw open a can of worms when on Sunday he issued a warning alleging that Kannadigas in Mumbai may find it difficult to do business if clashes between the linguistically divided groups were to reach the financial capital.
Raut made the above remarks in reference to the enduring linguistic disputes in Belagavi and the bordering districts that are a bone of contention between Maharashtra and Karnataka since the linguistic reorganisation of the states.
In an editorial published on April 18 in the Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamana, Sanjay Raut urged Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government to open an office in Belagavi in Karnataka and claimed that when Marathi-speaking people are attacked in this border district, Shiv Sainiks retaliate by vandalising transport buses belonging to Karnataka coming into their state.
The Rajya Sabha member further added that if such an incident happened in Mumbai, then it would be “difficult for Kannadigas here (Mumbai) to conduct their trade and business,” though he clarified that “one should not stoop down to that level”. Nevertheless, the subtle threat dished out to Kannadigas in Maharashtra was hard to miss.
BJP terms Sanjay Raut’s remarks on Kannadigas ‘anti-national’
Raut’s threat elicited a sharp reaction from the BJP, along with fellow Kannadigas who took to Twitter to condemn the divisive language used by Mr Raut against the Kannadigas. BJP MP Tejasvi Surya denounced Sanjay Raut’s remarks on Kannadigas and raised question over the silence of the Maha Vikas Aghadi leaders on the issue, saying that it shows “their love for power is more than love for Karnataka”.
“Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress govt (in Maharashtra) is proving to be a disgrace to the country every day. When the country has to stand united in the hour of distress, MVP leaders are dividing people on issues of language,” he tweeted.
Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress Govt is proving to be disgrace to the country everyday.— Tejasvi Surya (@Tejasvi_Surya) April 20, 2021
When country has to stand united in hour of distress, MVP leaders are dividing people on issues of language.@INCKarnataka’s silence shows their love for power is more than love for Karnataka. https://t.co/9RszRaDLym pic.twitter.com/8TGEOE0sgk
Surya also warned the Maharashtra government that the comments passed by Sanjay Raut on Kannadigas would not be taken lightly by the youth of India, reminding them that India has rejected politicians who had espoused the language of hate and division.
Social media users slam Sanjay Raut for threatening Kannadigas working in Mumbai
Raut is also facing flak from several social media users who slammed him for having a parochial outlook and exhibiting xenophobic tendencies.
One social media user rightly pointed out that Mumbai is what it is because of the outsiders. She further added that if the city were left to be governed by the likes of Sanjay Raut and his ilk, it will soon run into the ground.
Would like to see what Mumbai is without it’s “outsiders”.— Deepti (@MeDamselDee) April 20, 2021
Left to Raut and his sort, they’ll run it to the ground. https://t.co/0hsnNUPrib
Another social media user pointed out that Sanjay was simply trying to sow discord in the society with his inflammatory remarks.
This shit is trying to create indifference between people in the name of language. Loll some pappus might listen to you but be aware that this is 21st century kid. Learn to run a government first and talk about kannadigas #kannadigas #sanjayRaut https://t.co/6Jwo0XaVso— Rakesh (@Rakesh26148) April 20, 2021
Some users were flummoxed as to why the Indian Constitution still allowed people like Sanjay Raut to remain on a constitutional post. “Are we a banana republic?” one of them questioned.
Why our constitution still allows @rautsanjay61 kind of people to occupy the constitutional office. Are we banana republic @Devendra_Office @PMOIndia @OfficeofUT @republic @Tejasvi_Surya @CMofKarnataka @AmitShah https://t.co/pbsJYhr94e— Vinith (@vinith69194867) April 20, 2021
Another social media user said Maharashtra’s health infrastructure is crumbling under the weight of the COVID-19 outbreak but Sanjay Raut wants to politicise and polarise.
Maharashtra’s health infra’s crumbling the most and this man wants to politicize and polarize. https://t.co/475ceWCuey— Ananya Avadhaani (@a_avadhaani) April 20, 2021
Maharashtra and Karnataka are at loggerheads over the territorial claims on some areas, including Belagavi, Karwar and Nippani, which are part of Karnataka. Maharashtra has claimed that the region belongs to it, contending that the majority of the population in these areas are Marathi-speaking.