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.
As per a report published on NDTV, the session will begin at 11 am at the 'Suvarna Vidhana Soudha', modelled on the Vidhana Soudha, the seat of legislature in Bengaluru.
Belagavi Vidhan Soudha: Karanataka's symbolic assertion
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.
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.
Agreement to maintain status quo
The announcement for the assembly session came shortly after Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai held a joint meeting with Union home minister Amit Shah and Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Wednesday, wherein both sides reaffirmed that while the case is pending in the Supreme Court, neither state will make any move to change the status quo.
"There has been an agreement that till the Supreme Court delivers its verdict, the state governments will not make any claim. The dispute should be resolved through talks. A committee will be formed with three ministers from each state," Mr Shah said after the meeting.
Maharashtra's claims over Belagavi
Tensions have been fanned over the last few weeks as trucks from Maharashtra have been vandalised in Karnataka and in retaliation the Shiv Sena's faction led by Uddhav Thackarey allegedly defaced buses of the southern state.
Maharashtra has been long claiming Belagavi and surrounding border areas in north Karnataka as they have a sizable Marathi-speaking population. The decades-old border dispute resurfaced again after Bommai recently claimed that some villages in Sangli district in Maharashtra have passed a resolution to become a part of the southern state owing to lack of basic facilities there.
Resistance and opposition to Karnataka session
Speculations are rife that the assembly session in Belagavi on Monday will face opposition from Maharashtra. The Maharashtra Ekikaran Samithi will stage a symbolic sit-in protest at 11am on the first day of the assembly, NDTV reported.
Deputy Commissioner Nitesh Patil has issued an order barring Maharashtra MP Dhairyasheel Mane from visiting the area, who is expected to arrive at the Kugunolli check post on the Karnataka-Maharashtra border around 10 am.