Shiv Sena demands dissolution of Karnataka govt over Belgaum

Shiv Sena demands dissolution of Karnataka govt over Belgaum

Belgaum, which has a sizable Marathi-speaking population, has been a bone of contention between the two states.

"For the last so many years, the Marathi-speaking people of the border area are saying that they want to be a part of Maharashtra, but nobody is listening," Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray told reporters here.

He also said that Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra was not pleading the state's case before the Supreme Court as aggressively as the Karnataka government was.

Therefore, till the issue was resolved by the court, the disputed area should be made a union territory, Uddhav said, adding that the Karnataka government should be dissolved.

He said the BJP government in Karnataka had no fear of the party's central leadership.

Uddhav also said that Sena would raise the issue in Parliament as well as in Assembly.

Earlier in the day, Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray criticised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for not doing anything to resolve the boundary dispute.

In a statement, he alleged that the Belgaum Corporation was dissolved because Karnataka government could not come to terms with the fact that Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (which seeks Belgaum's inclusion in Maharashtra) ruled in the civic body.

Bal Thackeray recalled that his party had launched agitation in 1969 over the issue and he himself had been jailed for three months. "Sixty-nine Shiv Sainiks laid down their lives... this sacrifice has been forgotten."

Sena supremo also said that senior Congress leader from Maharashtra, A R Antulay, had apprised the Prime Minister of the facts, but "Antulay's efforts have fallen on deaf ears".

He also said, apparently referring to medieval king Prithviraj Chauhan, that he wanted to see whether Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan lives up to his name and stands by Marathi-speaking population of Belgaum.

Karnataka government yesterday superseded Belgaum Corporation for not performing its functions in accordance with the Karnataka Municipal Corporation Act 1976, and for certain actions that "offended the sentiments" of the people.

The city mayor and deputy mayor had observed Karnataka foundation day on November 1 as a "black day". The corporation had also passed a resolution stating that it will not hold civic reception to honour the Jnanpith awardee Chandrasekhara Kambara, which had triggered protest in other parts of the state.

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