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Border Dispute: Bommai Asks Two Maharashtra Ministers To Shun Visit To Belgaum, But Duo Firm

Karnataka chief minister S R Bommai’s missive to Maharashtra not to send its two ministers to Belgaum for holding talks with Marathi-speaking agitation’s leadership has aggravated the situation as both ministers are firm on their visit. Maharashtra ministers Chandrakant Patil and Shambhuraje Desai are scheduled to visit Belgaum on December 6 to meet leaders of Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (MES), which has been spearheading the agitation for merging Karnataka’s Marathi-speaking areas in Maharashtra over the past six decades. The two ministers will meet MES activists to understand their woes over the linguistic dispute. Ahead of the visit, Karnataka chief secretary has written to his Maharashtra counterpart at the instance of Bommai not to send Patil and Desai to Belgaum in view of the prevailing atmosphere. Patil, former state BJP president, said it has been Maharashtra’s consistent stand that the Centre should intercede to resolve the border dispute with Karnataka. Also, as the matter is in the Supreme Court, that factor also should be considered. In view of this, Karnataka should not try to prevent the visit.  A meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah could happen after Gujarat elections, Desai indicated while reiterating his resolve to reach Belgaum on December 6.