New Delhi: With the Belgaum border row intensifying, Maharshtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan will lead an all-party delegation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday demanding urgent resolution of the dispute.
Maharashtra has been demanding the transfer of Belgaum and 865 villages with a majority of Marathi-speaking people from Karnataka.
The decision to meet the PM was taken after both the Houses of the state legislature held marathon debate on the issue which came back to centrestage following Centre`s fresh response to Supreme Court. In its response the Centre said that the villages under dispute would continue to be with Karnataka as language alone cannot be the sole criterion for demarcation of inter-state boundaries.
However, in some relief for Maharashtra in the battle for Belgaum, the Supreme Court has allowed the state to file an amended application to challenge the validity of State Re-organisation Act.
A separate Congress delegation is also expected to meet party president Sonia Gandhi to press for their demands.
Clearly the state government is under intense political pressure from the opposition and it was evident by Chavan’s statement, yesterday, that the disputed areas should be declared a Union Territory as Karnataka was stifling the Marathi-speaking people.
The 30-member delegation will include Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal, state NCP president Madhukar Pichad, MPCC president Manikaro Thakare, Shiv Sena leaders Subhash Desai and Diwakar Raote, PWP leader N D Patil, BJP leaders Sudhir Mungantiwar and Pandurang Phundkar, MNS MLA Bala Nandgaonkar and Samajwadi Party MLA Abu Azmi.