Belagavi, a key location in the Maharashtra-Karnataka border dispute, is seeing a flurry of political activities. A delegation of Maharashtra ministers, who were set to visit parts of Belagavi on December 3rd, have now postponed their visit to December 6th, which marks the death anniversary of Dr. B R Ambedkar.
Maharashtra ministers Chandrakant Patil and Shambhuraj Desai were asked by Ambedkarite organisations to visit on December 6th to attend events marking the ‘Mahaparinirvan diwas’ or death anniversary of Babasaheb Ambedkar, Patil said in a tweet on Thursday. The delegation also includes MP Dhairyasheel Mane, who was appointed chief of the expert committee on the border dispute.
Meanwhile, Karnataka Chief Minister Bommai is in Belagavi’s Ramdurga on Friday to attend a government program related to development project, but he will reportedly not be visiting any border areas.
Security in Belagavi was tightened on Wednesday in anticipation of heightened tensions following the hearing of the dispute plea in the SC. The assault on a Kannada-speaking student on Wednesday evening has amplified tensions in Belagavi.
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. Sharing photos of the meeting on Twitter, he also wrote that he had assured them that the “coalition government in Maharashtra stands firmly with Marathi brothers in the border areas".
This came a day after the escalating Maharashtra-Karnataka border conflict was set to be heard in the Supreme Court based on a plea by the Maharashtra government. The plea, however, did not come up for hearing in the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai told reporters on Thursday that Karnataka’s stand remains that Maharashtra’s plea regarding the border issue is not maintainable. “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," he said.
The border dispute, which dates back to the 1960s after the reorganisation of states on linguistic lines, was reignited recently after CM Bommai made a comment stating that certain villages in Maharashtra’s Sangli district had passed a resolution seeking to move to Karnataka as they were facing severe water scarcity.
To this, Maharashtra’s Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis had sharply retorted that “not a single village will go anywhere". The dispute between the two states is based on Maharashtra’s claim to Belagavi and other border villages which have a sizeable Marathi-speaking population.
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