Sangli: Even as the border row between Maharashtra and Karnataka gathers steam, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai may have turned public tide in his favour with just one move. The southern state has released water to the Tikondi area of Maharashtra’s droughtprone Jat region. The move puts Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and his deputy Devendra Fadnavis firmly on the backfoot, coming as it does just days after area residents threatened to “leave” Maharashtra and formally join Karnataka unless their water woes were solved.
With the Karnataka government’s decision to release water under its Tubchi Bableshwar scheme, the storage pond at Tikondi is now overflowing. This comes at a time when protests and counter protests have increased on both sides of the border. Just last Saturday, a poster bearing Bommai’s image was defaced by anonymous protesters at a bus stop in Mumbai’s Mahim area. With Bommai already having staked his claim to as many as 40 Kannada-speaking villages as well as Sangli and Akkalkot cities, and inviting area residents to merge with his state, his latest move could well swing fence-sitters in the region to his corner. It will now be interesting to see how CM Shinde and Deputy CM Fadnavis respond in the coming days.