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Maharashtra-Karnataka Border Dispute: Bommai Responds To Shinde’s Feeler For A Dialogue But Uddhav Smells Conspiracy

Although Karnataka chief minister S R Bommai has indicated that his state will decide its stand over the border dispute with Maharashtra in an all-party meeting next week, Shiv Sena (Uddhav) feels the issue has been revived to divert attention from the statewide protests occurring against Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari for his utterances regarding Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde had sent a feeler that the issue can be resolved through dialogue and Bommai has responded to it. But Sena MP Sanjay Raut said there was a deep-rooted conspiracy to rake up the border issue. Bommai’s earlier statement that areas like Solapur district of Maharashtra should be merged with Karnataka has led to a wave of anger in the state. Against this backdrop, his readiness to consider Shinde’s offer is viewed as a signal to wait and watch. But the Sena (Uddhav) is viewing it differently. The interstate border dispute is now before the Supreme Court following a petition by Maharashtra to challenge the inclusion of Marathi-speaking areas like Belgaum, Nipani and Karwar in Karnataka. Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti, representing Marathi-speaking population’s interests in Karnataka, has been agitating for the past six decades peacefully to press its demands. However, leadership in Karnataka has declared its intent to make Belgaum the state’s second capital. Incidentally, Belgaum is at the core of the dispute.