As a cauldron of political tensions continue to simmer in the Karnataka-Maharashtra border issue, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has warned the Mumbai delegation against visiting Belagavi, a key location in the dispute.
Bommai has also threatened to take a legal action if the delegation — consisting of Maharashtra ministers Chandrakant Patil and Shambhuraj Desai — visited Belagavi.
The CM emphasized that in the present situation it is not “appropriate” for them to visit the area and he will take legal actions if they did not pay heed to his request.
Patil and Desai have been appointed as coordinating ministers for the Karnataka-Maharashtra border issue and there visit to the area was postponed from December 3 to December 6 to attend events marking the ‘Mahaparinirvan diwas’ or death anniversary of Babasaheb Ambedkar.
The delegation also includes MP Dhairyasheel Mane, who was appointed chief of the expert committee on the border dispute.
Maharashtra and Karnataka have been involved in a long-standing border dispute, with the former seeking administrative control of Marathi-speaking Belgaum and some other villages of the neighbouring state.
Take a look at key highlights of the Maharashtra-Karnataka Border row
Recent Catalyst of the issue: Bommai had recently sought a merger of “Kannada-speaking” areas in Maharashtra’s Akkalkot and Solapur and had also said some villages in Jat taluka in Sangli district wanted to join the southern state.
Belagavi at the centre: Security in Belagavi was tightened on Wednesday in anticipation of heightened tensions following the hearing of the dispute plea in the SC.
Student assaulted in Belagavi: The assault on a Kannada-speaking student on Wednesday evening has amplified tensions in Belagavi.
CM visited Ramdurga: Karnataka Chief Minister Bommai is in Belagavi’s Ramdurga on Friday to attend a government program related to development project, but he did not visit any border areas.
Shinde appointed committee: Ministers Patil and Desai were appointed by the Eknath Shinde government to coordinate with the state’s legal team on the border issue.
Delegation likely to meet MES: They were likely to meet leaders of the Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (MES), which has been spearheading the movement to merge Belagavi with Maharashtra for decades.
NCP questions BJP, Centre’s silence: The Nationalist Congress Party on Saturday questioned the “eerie silence” of the Maharashtra government, the BJP and the Centre on the “uncalled for” statements made by Bommai.
Patil meets Marathi-speaking delegation: Patil on Thursday met with former Karnataka MLA M. G. Muley and a Marathi-speaking delegation from Bidar, Karnataka to discuss problems faced by them in the border areas.
SC Does Not Hear Plea: A plea by the Maharashtra governemnt on the conflict was set to be heard in the Supreme Court on Wednesday. The plea however did not come up for hearing.
Bommai sticks to stand: “Karnataka’s stand is very clear, Maharashtra’s appeal is not maintainable, that’s our stand, and the same will be argued by our lawyers. Our stand is both constitutional and legal,” Bommai said.
Take a look at history of dispute
This brings back to light, the decades-old border dispute over Belagavi (earlier Belgaum) between Maharashtra and Karnataka. The dispute goes back to the 1960s after the reorganisation of States on linguistic lines.
Maharashtra laid claim to Belagavi which was part of the erstwhile Bombay Presidency as it has a sizable Marathi-speaking population. It also laid claim to 80 Marathi-speaking villages which are currently part of Karnataka.
With agency inputs
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