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Political parties in Maharashtra Wednesday slammed a central government affidavit in the Supreme Court Tuesday that said the Marathi-speaking areas bordering Maharashtra and Karnataka belonged to the latter.

In a sharp reaction, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray said the decision was ‘unfair’ to the people of Maharashtra. ‘If this is the case, then why not abolish this policy of carving out states on linguistic basis,’ he said.

Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (MES) leaders T.K. Patil, Kiran Thakur and N.D. Patil denounced the central government. ‘This is an unfortunate decision by the centre,’ Thakur said.

A Shiv Sena spokesperson said the party would initiate appropriate action as it concerned the pride of Maharashtra.

In its affidavit, the central government told the apex court that just because most people in the border district speak Marathi was not ground enough for the areas to be appended to Maharashtra.

The government’s reply came after an affidavit filed by Maharashtra in 2004 staking claim to 814 villages in Belgaum, Gulbarga, Karwar and Bidar districts of Karnataka which had a majority Marathi-speaking population.

The affidavit contended that though the language of the people has been one of the criteria, it was not the sole criterion for inclusion of any area into a state.

‘Both parliament and the union government had looked into all relevant factors while considering the State Reorganisation Bill, 1956, and the Bombay Reorganisation Bill, 1960,’ the government said in the affidavit.

The central government even urged that Maharashtra’s petition be dismissed and exemplary costs be imposed for filing such a suit.

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