The Maharashtra assembly, which was adjourned five times on Friday, unanimously demanded dissolution of the BJP-led Karnataka government for superseding the democratically-elected Belgaum Municipal Corporation. The civic body in Belgaum is controlled by the Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (MES).
In an embarrassment to the BJP, the move in the assembly was initiated by its alliance partner, the Shiv Sena. A defensive leader of the Opposition, Eknath Khadse, endorsed the resolution of the chief minister, but objected to the demand that the BJP government in Karnataka be dissolved.
The Karnataka government had dissolved the Belgaum Municipal Corporation on Thursday “for poor performance and failing to run the civic body in keeping with the provisions of the Karnataka Municipal Act.”
The controversy erupted when Belgaum mayor Manda Balekundri and her deputy Renu Killekar participated in a Black Day programme organised by MES on November 1, which is Karnataka’s Foundation Day.
Responding to the sentiments of the house, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan tabled a resolution in the assembly that the Karnataka government should be dissolved for its anti-Marathi bias and that the Marathi-speaking areas of Belgaum, Dharwar and Karwar in Karnataka should be declared a Union Territory till the Supreme Court gives its verdict on the on-going border dispute.
Raising the issue after the question hour, Shiv Sena leader Subhash Desai insisted that the house should adopt a unanimous resolution against the action of the Karnataka government and urged the chief minister to lead an all-party delegation to the prime minister on the issue.
Chavan informed the House that he had had a talk with Union Home Minister P Chidambaram and expressed the sentiments of the people of Maharashtra on the issue.