Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa waded into the row, asserting

Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa waded into the row, asserting

The answer to his opinions were immediate in Karnataka, with the state Kannada and Culture Minister C.T. Ravi stating Thackeray’ought to be ashamed for making such statements only for political reasons’.

Groups that took to the streets were riled by it.

Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa waded into the row, asserting that’not an inch of Belagavi will be awarded to Maharashtra’.

Amid tit-for-tat protests in Maharashtra, the matter has further escalated with Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi Wednesday warning that the state government wouldn’t tolerate any trouble to Kannadigas in Maharashtra over the issue.

The row, however, is a five-decade-old one with either side raking it up intermittently to be able to instigate each other for political mileage.

The border issue

The central government constituted the Mahajan Committee in 1966 to assess the situation. In 1967, the committee recommended that 300 villages in Karwar, Haliyal and Suparna talukas of Karnataka be given to Maharashtra but abandoned Belagavi with the country. But Maharashtra objected to the report terming it’illogical and biased’.

In 2006, the then Congress-led UPA government submitted in the Supreme Court that the matter should be solved through mutual negotiation and that linguistic criterion shouldn’t be considered as it may create more practical problems. In 2007, Maharashtra once again moved the Supreme Court playing the ancestral element, claiming that Marathi speaking people in Karnataka were being’sidelined’ and’threatened’.

But Karnataka also has made attempts to reiterate its claim over Belagavi. The state government constructed an assembly building, the Suvarna Vidhan Soudha, in the city and now holds its winter session there each year.

On 14 October, 2014, then Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah renamed Belgaum as Belagavi along with 12 other cities, which was seen as an attempt by the state to cut Belagavi’s historic roots to Marathi culture.

Political mileage

The issue was fraught with political implications.

The platform then started contesting elections as a party and in its over 70-year history has focused on merging Belagavi, Karwar, Bidar and other Marathi-speaking areas in Karnataka with Maharashtra.

Its influence, however, has waned through the years. In the 1952 and 1957 assembly elections, the MES won all the seats in Belagavi district.

Maratha leaders have fared better in civic body elections. Since 1999, Belagavi has had only five’Kannada’ Mayors, with the remainder being representatives of various Marathi groups.

With the issue vitiating the atmosphere again, both sides in Belagavi have dug their heels .

‘If Maharashtra wants to politicise the situation then let them withdraw the case they’ve filed in the SC.

‘Uddhav Thackeray should know better than anyone else that if they do this, it contributes to contempt of court,’ he added.

‘Marathi organisations don’t have much control in Belagavi. They have not won a single meeting election for the last two decades which clearly shows that their control is waning,’ Chandargi said.

Such has been the acrimony in the region that in November 2005, the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike, a pro-Kannada organisation smeared black paint then mayor Vijay More’s face in the wake of the Belgaum City Corporation (BCC) passing a resolution to merge the district with Maharashtra.

Mayor More, once with the MES but now a full-time social worker, says the issue can be solved only if chief ministers of both countries discuss the matter and reach an amicable solution.

‘Just like the SC delivered a balanced verdict on the age-old Ayodhya issue and solved the dispute, in a similar way we should wait for the SC to pass a judgment on the border issue,’ More told ThePrint over telephone from Belagavi.

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India close to finishing a trade package with US: Shringla

India close to finishing a trade package with US: Shringla

Washington: India and the US are close to concluding a trade package that would provide improved market access to both countries, India’s outgoing Ambassador to the US Harsh Vardhan Shringla has said.

“We are close to finishing a trade package that would provide enhanced market access to both countries,” Shringla stated during the event.

The Ambassador, who would take up his new assignment as the next foreign secretary after this month of India, however, failed to give an exact date for the inking of the trade deal that is much anticipated.

The trade deal was first announced by US President Donald Trump when he met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New York in September.

Trump on September 24 said his country will soon have a trade deal with India to boost ties between the two nations.

Shringla reported the signing of the trade package would pave the way for a much bigger bilateral trade deal between the two biggest democracies of the world, which will only benefit the companies of the two nations.

Shringla, who is scheduled to leave for India later this month, said that the India- US bilateral trade has increased significantly in the past one decade and it is anticipated to be over $160 billion by 2019.

Noting that there are a lot of complementarities between the Indian and the US economy, the Ambassador stated that Indian-American entrepreneurs and specifically organizations like TiE DC play a significant role in strengthening these bilateral ties, not just people to people but also strategic and economic relationship.

An entrepreneur from TiE DC, ravi Puli, stated that in just about an year, Shringla has made a great impact.

“As an ambassador, he’s taken the US- India relations to a degree that all of us are feeling very proud and we are looking forward to take it even further with his leadership as a foreign secretary of India,” he said.

Entrepreneurs attended the event from in and around Washington DC and leaders of different chapters from various parts of the country.

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