The BJP-led Karnataka government’s decision on Thursday to supersede the Belgaum City Corporation has set off angry reactions in Marathi-dominated areas bordering Maharashtra and Karnataka. Neighbouring Kolhapur observed a Shiv Sena-sponsored bandh.
Belgaum, though, which is Marathi-dominated, reacted calmly. Many are now asking whether the sentiment in the city to the 50-year-old demand for merger with Maharashtra is diminishing.
Rajshekhar Patil, a Belgaum-based journalist said: “People by and large were not happy with the civic body’s performance on developmental issues. Secondly, the new generation, which has grown up in a mixed Marathi-Kannada environment does not connect with the issue of the merger.”
The Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (MES), which has been spearheading the demand for Belgaum’s merger with Maharashtra, as “biased”.
The Karnataka government dissolved the MES-ruled civic body "for not performing" its functions in accordance with the Karnataka Municipal Corporation Act 1976 and for certain actions that "offended the sentiments" of people of the state.
Earlier, it had issued a notice to the civic body, asking the mayor, Manda Balekundri, and her deputy, Renu Killekar, why they had not taken part in the Rajyotsava Day (State formation Day) celebrations on November 1.
Belekundri said that her “decision to observe state formation day as ‘black day’ is as per the tradition which every Marathi mayor has been following.”