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Opposition Reacts To Rumours Of Savarkar's Portrait In Karnataka Assembly In Belagavi

The Karnataka legislative assembly will convene a symbolic session at its second assembly house in Belgavi on Monday, amid the ongoing border row with Maharashtra. Belagavi is the at the heart of the disputed land claimed by both the states.

Karnataka Suvarna Vidhan Soudha in Belagavi
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Amid rumours that Hindutva ideologue Savarkar’s portrait would adorn the Karnataka Suvarna Vidhana Soudha in Belagavi along with Mahatma Gandhi, former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said Savarkar was a controversial figure.

Karnataka Assembly Speaker Vishveshwar Hegde Kageri, however, remained silent on the question whether the portrait would be put up in the Assembly. He maintained that the issue would be known to the world on Monday, hence, there was no need to speak on it.

'Savarkar a controversial personality, no need for his portrait' 

“I don’t have information, but people are talking...Someone brought that to my notice. There is no need for the portrait,” Siddaramaiah told reporters. He sought to know the need to put up the portrait when it has not been placed yet.

“His (Savarkar) was a controversial personality. Those who want his portrait want peace for their soul...,” said the Congress leader. Denying receipt of any invitation to unveil the portrait or regarding any discussion, Siddaramaiah said this seems to be the BJP’s agenda.

He said, “Savarkar was among those in the Mahatma Gandhi's assassination case. He is a controversial figure. We have to see. We have not been invited for discussion for now.” 

Congress State president D K Shivakumar said he is also not aware of any such development. “I don’t know about it. We were told that the portrait of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr B R Ambedkar will be put up (in Suvarna Vidhana Soudha). Apart from that, we are not aware of things you are talking about,” Shivakumar said.

He also declined to comment if the portrait is inaugurated, saying he should not comment on things he did not know of. “We will not comment without knowing facts. Why are you creating things? I am not deaf. When I heard that the portrait of Gandhiji and Baba Saheb Ambedkar will be unveiled, we were filled with joy and pride,” Shivakumar said.

Shivakumar, however, said he would discuss the issue in the party forum after it is brought to his notice.

'The world will know on Monday'

Vishveshwar Hegde Kageri , however, did not give any reply on this issue, but asked people to see on Monday as to whose portrait would be unveiled. “What else should I say about things which are going to become known to the world tomorrow (Monday)?” Kageri said.

To a question whether putting up portrait was the decision of the House or the Speaker, Kageri said being the Speaker himself, he is responsible for whatever happens in the House. “I am responsible. Since I am the Speaker, I am responsible,” he added.

Karnataka assembly session in Belagavi today

The Karnataka legislative assembly will convene a symbolic session at its second assembly house in Belgavi on Monday, amid the ongoing border row with Maharashtra. Belagavi is the at the heart of the disputed land claimed by both the states. 

This second assembly house hosts an annual assembly session to assert the southern state's claims over the largely Marathi-speaking region, which is also claimed by Maharashtra. Belagavi, though a part of the erstwhile Bombay Presidency, was incorporated as part of Karnataka as per the States Reorganisation Act of 1956.

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Karnataka assembly's decision to hold a symbolic session in Belagavi comes at a time when the Centre is undertaking efforts to ensure peace and maintain order at the disputed site. A case to address the border row is also pending in the apex court.

The possibility of having Savarkar's portrait in Belagavi Vidhan Soudha is symbolic as he is a revered personality in parts of Maharashtra. Demands have been made by the political parties in the state to accord Bharat Ratna to Savarkar.

(With inputs from PTI)

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