Bengaluru: Adding up to the 70-year-long border dispute between Maharashtra and Karnataka over areas like Belgaum, Karwar and Nipani, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister and Karnataka Chief Minister locked horns on Wednesday.

Maharashtra DyCM Ajit Pawar was first to begin as he broached the issue, paying tributes to Balasaheb Thackeray.

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Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa slammed Pawar’s statement and said those are meant for “unwanted controversy”.

“Late Balasaheb had struggled his entire life for the rights of the common man. He always dreamt about the overall development of Maharashtra and made a united Maharashtra including Belgaum, Karwar and Nipani. So, let us decide to fulfil this dream,” the statement from Ajit Pawar’s office read.

The statement was issued on Balasaheb’s death anniversary on November 17.

Urging Ajit Pawar to not make such statements, Karnataka Chief Minister said, “Marathi speaking people are just like Kannadigas. They too belong to us. Maratha Development Authority has been formed for their development. Statement is just to trigger unwanted controversy. I urge him not to make such statements.”

Maharashtra claims Belgaum and the other areas which are part of Karnataka as they were part of Bombay Presidency.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had appointed Chhagan Bhujbal and Eknath Shinde to look into the legal cases concerning the border dispute.