Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday set up a two-member coordination committee comprising senior cabinet ministers Eknath Shine and Chhagan Bhujbal to oversee the government’s efforts to expedite the issue related to Maharashtra’s boundary dispute with Karnataka. Thackeray announced that the state government will hold a meeting of the lawyers who are representing Maharashtra in the court soon.
The dispute between Maharashtra and Karnataka over Belgaum and other border areas is pending before the Supreme Court for many years.
“My government will do everything possible to resolve the border dispute in a time-bound manner,” Thackeray said. Thackeray also indicated that he will personally hold discussions with senior advocate Harish Salve to fast-track the decision on the border dispute. “A meeting of legal experts will be convened soon,” the CM said.
The announcement was made following a meeting at Mantralaya which was attended by ministers Eknath Shinde, Chhagan Bhujbal, Subash Desai, Jayant Patil, Nitin Raut, MLAs Hasan Mushrif, Rajesh Patil and Anil Parab.
Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti leaders Manohar Kinekar, Arvind Patil, Digambar Patil and Belgaum Tarun Bharat editor Kiran Thakur were also present in the meeting. The Samiti is at the forefront of Marathi-speakers’ agitation for the merger of Belgaum and other areas with Maharashtra.
The inter-state border dispute relates to Maharashtra’s claim over 865 villages, including Belgaum city, which are currently a part of Karnataka. Successive governments in Maharashtra, since its formation six decades ago, have demanded that the 865 villages along the border of the two states should be merged with Maharashtra as they have a dominant Marathi-speaking population who are allegedly getting secondary treatment in Karnataka. The Karnataka government, however, has held that these villages were a part of their state.
The Shiv Sena, which now shares power with the NCP and Congress, has for years demanded that these areas be included in Maharashtra.