Declare Belgaum as union territory, Maharashtra urges Centre

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Nagpur, Dec 16: Maharashtra Assembly adopted a unanimous resolution, urging the Centre to grant a union territory status on Belgaum, a controversial town in Karnataka. The assembly also demanded restoration of the Belgaum City Corporation Council (BCCC), which was dissolved by the Karnataka government on Thursday on the charge of failing to function as envisaged under law.

The resolution, which was moved by the Chief Minister Prithiviraj Chavan, was adopted unanimously through a voice-vote. The resolution also demanded dissolving the Karnataka Assembly, which was opposed by the BJP in the lower house.

It all started when Shiv Sena group leader Subhash Desai moved an adjournment motion over the dissolution of the BCCC, alleging humiliation of the Marathi-speaking population in the region. Speaker Dilip Walse Patil, while outrightly rejecting the notice for adjournment motion, agreed to convene a joint meeting of the chief minister with party leaders and presiding officers to discuss the issue. Though the Speaker rejected the notice for adjournment motion by Desai, he allowed him to express his views on the alleged injustices meted out to Marathi people in Belgaum.

Members cutting across party lines joined the issue and demanded a discussion. The House was adjourned for ten minutes following PWD Minister Chhagan Bhujbal's request. A meeting of all group leaders in the House along with chief minister, deputy chief minister and others, was held during the adjournment period.

After the meeting, the chief minister Chavan moved a resolution, agreed upon by all, urging the Centre to declare Belgaum as a union territory, to reinstate the BCCC and dissolve the Karnataka Assembly. The Speaker endorsed the resolution and said it would be sent to the Centre at the earliest. Belgaum, currently a part of Karnataka and earlier the erstwhile Bombay Presidency, is being claimed by Maharashtra on linguistic grounds.

PTI

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