Belagavi heads for another face-off when Assembly winter session begins

Before the border dispute between Karnataka and Maharashtra, which raised tensions along the border region of Belagavi has settled down, the stage is all set for another high voltage showdown.

The Karnataka government is holding the winter session of the Assembly from December 19 at the Suvarna Soudha built on the outskirts of Belagavi city. The Maharashtra Ekikarana Samithi (MES), which is making efforts to join Belagavi to Maharashtra, has decided to hold Maha Melav, a parallel session, in Belagavi.

With the MES organising the Maha Melav on the first day of the Assembly’s winter session, given the existing simmering tensions between the two states, the authorities are keeping their fingers crossed.

The MES has already sought permission from the district administration to hold the Maha Melav. Sources revealed that Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray will attend the Melav and give a speech.

Kannada organisations have already declared that no politician from Maharashtra should be allowed to enter Karnataka, who will provoke the local Marathi speaking people against the Kannadigas.

The coalition government in Maharashtra has appointed two ministers for coordination of border issues and supported their proposed visit. It has adopted a visibly aggressive stand over the issue.

On the other hand, the Shiv Sena of the Uddhav Thackeray faction which is facing the challenge of losing its identity, will not let the issue die down easily, said sources.

The ruling BJP in Karnataka inevitably had to take a tough stand on the issue as the state is headed for assembly elections in less than four months.

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai after claiming a right over the Kannada regions of Jatt and Akkalakote in Solapur district of Maharashtra, is also in a situation to not only take proactive decisions on the border dispute but to ensure that Kannadigas’ rights in Maharashtra are not violated.

The Karnataka police which earned accolades for controlling the situation without violence or any untoward incident taking place is getting ready for another challenge.

Deepak B Gudaganatti, Belagavi district president of the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike, stated that there is a sense of awareness among the people of Karnataka about the nefarious designs of Maharashtra politicians.

“Five lakh people participated in the Kannada Rajyotsava celebrations this November in Belagavi. People from all over the state have arrived to show their solidarity. Ever since the organisation has become active, the goonda activities of Maratha organisations have stopped. If Kanandigas are provoked, a befitting answer would be given at any point of time,” he warned.

Maloji Shantharam Ashtekar, General Secretary of MES and former mayor of Belagavi city, said that the application to organise the Maha Melav had been submitted already and they will meet the district commissioner in one or two days to follow it up.

Every year, the authorities give permission at the last minute for the Maha Melav. It will be held at Tilakawadi located 10 kilometres from the Suvarna Soudha.

“We have written a letter to Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray to send leaders to the Maha Melav. If he comes it’s good, if he doesn’t turn up it is also okay,” he said.

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