Mumbai, Oct 8 (IANS) Maharashtra political parties Monday expressed their strong opposition to President Pranab Mukherjee's plans to travel to the disputed border areas on the Maharashtra-Karnataka boundary.
According to indications, President Mukherjee is scheduled to inaugurate the new Vidhan Bhavan complex in Belgaum town near the state border, which has been recently accorded the status of 'second capital' of Karnataka.
Expressing his reservations on this, Minister for PWD and Tourism Chhagan Bhujbal has shot off a letter to the president, saying it would be "inappropriate" for him to accept an invitation to inaugurate the new Vidhan Bhavan complex in Belgaum.
Bhujbal pointed out that the inter-state border dispute remains unresolved and by virtue of its physical control over the disputed region, Karnataka was bidding to strengthen its stranglehold by shifting part of its legislative work to Belgaum.
"Your inaugurating the Vidhan Bhavan would amount to the central government's tacit endorsement of that (Karnataka) state disregarding Maharashtra's legitimate claims," Bhujbal said in his letter to President Mukherjee Monday.
Besides Belgaum town, 864 villages where the majority population is Marathi-speaking have been the bone of contention between the two neighbouring states since the past 56 years.
Shiv Sena MP from Kolhapur Sadashivrao Mandlik Monday said that he would meet Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and urge him to convey the sentiments of the people of Maharashtra to President Mukherjee about the Belgaum function.
Similarly, Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti chief Balasaheb Kakatkar expressed strong reservations about the presidential visit to Belgaum, and pointed out that the matter was pending in the Supreme Court. Kakatkar said his organisation would also hold demonstrations against the trip.
On Sunday, Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray also on similar grounds opposed the president's plan to go to Belgaum.
Bhujbal said that the Maharashtra-Karnataka border dispute was an "extremely sensitive issue".
"I would humbly request you not to accept the invitation to avoid any impropriety on the part of the central government, as well as involve the country's highest constitutional office into a dispute which instead should be resolved on the basis of facts," Bhujbal said.