Maharashtra Govt urged to approach SC on border dispute

| 20 April 2000 21:56 IST

The six-decade old border dispute between Karnataka and Maharashtra has once again taken a centre stage at the All India Marathi Literary Conference, the body which has always inspired the Samyukta Maharashtra (combined Maharashtra) movement since '40s.

Dr Y D Fadke, president of the 73rd conference being held in Belgaum, has urged the Maharashtra government to approach the Supreme Court to decide upon the issue of merging Marathi-speaking areas of Karnataka – including Belgaum, Karwar and Nipani – into Maharashtra.

A proposal to this effect was actually made by a three-member legal experts committee headed by Justice (retd) Y V Chandrachud in 1997 in a detailed report submitted to Manohar Joshi, then chief minister of Maharashtra, belonging to the Shiv Sena – BJP government.

Stating that Maharashtra has a strong legal case, Justice Chandrachud committee had recommended that both Karnataka state and the Govt of India be made respondents in the case under Art 131 of the constitution. No government has acted upon it till date.

Holding all the governments in Maharashtra for not taking enough initiative in pressurising the centre to resolve the border dispute, Dr Fadke in his speech accused the ruling politicians for not showing any political will in this regard. In fact one third of his presidential speech at the conference was solely dedicated to the border issue.

Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, who was present on the occasion, later refuted the allegation while talking to journalists. He said he was prepared to abide by any suggestion made by the five-member committee (of which Sharad Pawar is also the member), constituted especially to guide on the issue.

The whole atmosphere at the Belgaum meet appears to have been charged on the issue. Many Marathi writers as well as activists appear fumed over Pawar's comment made some days ago that the border dispute has no more remained a public issue.

"Neither the government nor the Maharashtra Assembly appears concerned about the issue any more. Even the voter does not seem to be enthusiastic about it", also observed Dr Fadke in his speech. In fact, after electing Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti MLA consecutively for nine times from Belgaum, for the first time the MES candidate was defeated during recent Assembly polls.

While every government and political party in Maharashtra has paid mere lip service to the issue, the 52-year old MES in the disputed border areas is also found to be a divided lot. In this light, the three-day literary conference is looked upon as a rejuvenating force to unite them as one strong entity.

The conference holds significance considering the history of Samyukta Maharashtra movement, which emerged only after a demand to this effect was made at one such sammelan held in 1939. The Samyukta Maharashtra Parishad was then formed in 1946, to bring all the Marathi-speaking areas together as one state.

The MES was formed in 1948 followed by Dar Commission to decide upon state reorganisation on the basis of language. Neither the Dar Commission, the State Reorganisation Commission set up in 1953 nor the Mahajan Commission formed in 1966 however favoured the demand, though it a fact that these areas are Marathi-dominated areas.

The three-day meet, while concluding, is expected to pass a resolution on the issue probably incorporating the suggestion made by Dr Fadke. The ball would be then thrown in the court of all those political parties who are busy creating their political base in Maharashtra as well as Karnataka simultaneously. is now on Telegram & also Youtube. Kindly subscribe for free & remain updated.

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