Amid the raging border dispute with Maharashtra, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Tuesday said that the harmony between people of both states should not be disturbed and expressed his government's commitment to protect the state's borders and the interest of Kannadigas here and in other states.
He also said that he was confident about Karnataka winning the legal battle on the border dispute, as the state's stand is both legal and constitutional.
Bommai's statement comes amid reports that a Maharashtra ministerial delegation that was likely to visit Belagavi may not come today, and also some statements by political leaders in that state accusing his government of raking up the border issue keeping upcoming elections in mind.
"There is no relationship with upcoming assembly elections and Karnataka's stand on the border issue, for many years now, it is Maharashtra that has been raking up the issue. As Maharashtra has disputed there is reaction from Karnataka," he said in response to a query.
Speaking to reporters here, the chief minister maintained that there is harmony between people of both states and it should not be disturbed.
"The case is before the Supreme Court, our stand is both legal and constitutional, so we are confident that we will win the legal battle. So there is no question of us wanting to create an issue out of it for the sake of elections. We are committed to protect the state's borders and our people, and also the interests of Kannadigas living in Maharashtra, Telangana and Kerala " he added.
Maharashtra Ministers Chandrakant Patil and Shambhuraj Desai, along with a MP were scheduled to meet the activists of Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (MES) at Belagavi in Karnatakatoday and hold talks with them on the border dispute.
Bommai on Monday had asked his Maharashtra counterpart Eknath Shinde not to send his Ministers to Belagavi, amid the raging border dispute between both the states, as it may disrupt the law and order situation in the border district.
He had also instructed the officials concerned regarding the measures to be taken in case they go ahead with the visit, and had made it clear that the government will not hesitate to take any legal action.
Belagavi district administration on Monday had issued orders barring entry of two Maharashtra Ministers and leaders to the city. Deputy Commissioner and district magistrate Nitesh Patil had issued prohibitory orders under article 144 of CrPC, barring entry of Ministers and a MP, who are members of the Maharashtra High Power Committee on the Border Dispute.
The border dispute dates back to 1957 after the reorganisation of states on linguistic lines.
Maharashtra laid claim to Belagavi, which was part of the erstwhile Bombay Presidency as it has a sizable Marathi-speaking population. It also laid claim to 814 Marathi-speaking villages which are currently part of Karnataka.
Karnataka maintains the demarcation done on linguistic lines as per the Act and the 1967 Mahajan Commission Report as final.
And, as an assertion that Belagavi is an integral part of the state, Karnataka has built the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha, modelled on the Vidhana Soudha, the seat of legislature in Bengaluru, and a legislature session is held there once a year.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)