Soudha to firm up State's Belgaum stand

Soudha  to firm up State's Belgaum stand

The inauguration of the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha (SVS) by President Pranab Mukherjee and presentation of the Jnanapith award to litterateur Chandrashekhara Kambara on Thursday are expected to send a strong message to the ‘anti-State’ forces, reaffirming that Belgaum is an integral part of the State and also its second capital.

Activists and leaders of the Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (MES), demanding merger of Marathi-speaking border areas of the State with Maharashtra, have raised a hue and cry over the inauguration of the SVS. They have urged the political leadership in Maharashtra to take necessary measures and prevent Mukherjee from inaugurating SVS.

The MES has been fighting for including the Marathi-speaking boundary areas of the State in Maharashtra, since the reorganisation of the states. Support for the pro-Maharashtra outfit has been dwindling lately and it has no representation in the present State Assembly.

The Shiv Sena, which has now been supporting the MES, had announced in the past that MES had been “finished” and they would fill the vacuum, but disappeared soon after.

Over the years, the Marathi-speaking people rejected the MES and showed their inclination towards development. These developments led the Maharashtra government to file a writ petition in the Supreme Court over the Karnataka-Maharashtra boundary dispute.

The JD(S)-BJP coalition government led by then chief minister H D Kumaraswamy held a five-day legislature session from September 25-29, 2006 in the border city and reiterated the State’s stand that Belgaum was an integral part of Karnataka.

It was also announced that a secretariat building would come up in the city to pave way for holding annual sessions.

The foundation stone for the SVS was laid on the premises of the Vaccine Depot at Tilakwadi by Kumaraswamy during the session. After the BJP government came to power, the location was changed to Halaga-Bastwad villages on the national highway.

Then chief minister B S Yeddyurappa laid the foundation stone on January 22, 2009. The structure is now all set to be inaugurated.

The factions of the MES held separate meetings and demanded that Mukherjee refrain from inaugurating the SVS. They have also urged the political leadership in Maharashtra to pressure the President not to open the secretariat building.

Kambara, a native of Ghodgeri village in Hukkeri taluk of Belgaum district, was insulted by the MES in the past. The programme to present the Jnanapith award to the writer has proved to be a bitter pill for the pro-Maharashtra outfit.

Kannada activists say both the programmes are a befitting reply to the ‘anti-state’ forces and a reaffirmation of the fact that Belgaum was and is an integral part of Karnataka.

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