Thin crowd turns MES convention into a damp squib

Thin crowd turns MES convention into a damp squib

The ‘Maha Melava’ (grand convention) organised by the Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (MES) here on Tuesday in protest against the ongoing session of the State legislature in this border city turned out to be a damp squib as few leaders and activists of the faction-ridden party turned up.

The MES, whose demand is the merger of Marathi-speaking areas in Karnataka with Maharashtra, has been organising the convention since 2006 when a legislature session was held for the first time in Belagavi.

The district administration late on Monday gave it conditional permission to hold the convention.

Its leaders expected a good turnout given the controversy over the delay in getting the permission.

The convention was scheduled to start at 10 am at the Vaccine Depot ground, Tilakwadi, but with only a thin crowd—that too comprising the leaders—it could begin only after 12.30 pm when a few hundred supporters arrived.

Late arrival

The MES legislators and Belagavi City Corporation mayor and corporators didn’t arrive until 1 pm. N D Patil, chairman of the boundary dispute advisory committee set up by Maharashtra, assured the MES workers that the government of that state had been taking “all steps” to protect their interests in the suit filed in the Supreme Court for the resolution of the vexed Karnataka-Maharashtra boundary dispute.

He accused Karnataka of meting out “injustice” to the Marathi-speaking people.
 The case in the Supreme Court could be adjudicated anytime now and the Marathi-speaking people should maintain unity.

‘Approach PM’

MLA Sambhaji Patil urged the MES supporters to stage protests in Mumbai and before Prime Minister Narendra Modi until a concrete assurance was given to resolve the boundary dispute.

Narsingh Patil, former MLA from Chandgad in Maharashtra, called upon the Belagavi corporators to pass a resolution on the boundary dispute in the civic body and not be afraid of the municipal corporation being dissolved or superceded.

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