The two houses of the state legislature on Thursday passed a resolution asking the Centre to convert Belgaum into a union territory till the Supreme Court settles the 50-year-old border dispute between Maharashtra and Karnataka.
The state legislature condemned the dissolution of the Belgaum Municipal Corporation, which was governed by local Marathi-speaking representatives. The Belgaum civic body was dissolved last week by the Karnataka government, despite the Dharwad bench of the Karnataka high court staying the government action. The Karnataka government contended that the civic body had insulted the state.
On Thursday, members of the Maharashtra state legislature termed the act as injustice to Marathi-speaking people who, they said, have been demanding a merger with Maharashtra.
Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan tabled a resolution that asked the Centre to direct the Karnataka government to make amends.
The resolution was passed by a voice vote when council chairman Shivajirao Deshmukh called upon the Centre to intervene. "Local people are suffering because of various steps taken by the Karnataka government. We demand Presidential rule till the Supreme Court gives its verdict," Deshmukh said.
In the legislative council, public works minister Chhagan Bhujbal rued that despite repeated assurances from successive governments at the Centre, nothing substantial had been done to resolve the border dispute.
Opposition leader Vinod Tawde emphasised that though his party was in power in Karnataka, the Maharashtra BJP supported the Marathi-speaking people of Belgaum.