30-member all-party delegation led by Kumaraswamy calls on Manmohan Singh
NEW DELHI: An all-party delegation from Karnataka headed by Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy on Tuesday called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and urged the Union Government to reject the claim of Maharashtra over 815 villages in Belgaum and some other districts of Karnataka. It also urged the Union Government to ensure that the Mahajan Commission recommendations on the border dispute between Karnataka and Maharashtra were implemented fully.
The delegation, which included Deputy Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa and Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly N. Dharam Singh, described Maharashtra's claim as "unwarranted''.
The delegation called on the Prime Minister in the context of reports that the Union Government would file its views on August 21 on the suit filed by Maharashtra in the Supreme Court on the border issue.
A similar delegation from Maharashtra led by its Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh has called on the Prime Minister to present its case.
Stating that "any chance of negotiation by anybody in this matter is ruled out,'' the delegation quoted a statement made by former Prime Minister late Rajiv Gandhi ruling out reopening of the Mahajan Commission report in 1986 and said the statement should be taken as the commitment of the Union Government.
A memorandum presented by the delegation to the Prime Minister said, "It is pertinent to quote here the views expressed by the late Rajiv Gandhi on the subject when he was Prime Minister as reported in The Hindu on May 28, 1986. The report stated that [late] Rajiv Gandhi ruled out any reopening of the Mahajan Commission report on the boundary issues between Maharashtra and Karnataka and said, `How can we go on reopening the issue?'... . If we do so, there would be no sanctity of the institutions we set up. We take this statement as the commitment of the Union Government and hold that the Union Government is bound to respect the sentiments and commitment of [late] Rajiv Gandhi.'' "We express our full faith in your leadership and request that the political pressure being exerted by Maharashtra to deprive Karnataka of a part of its territory be rejected outright,'' it said.
Kalasa Banduri Nala
The delegation also urged the Prime Minister to advise the Union Water Resources Ministry to withdraw the order staying the clearance for the Kalasa Banduri Nala Project to divert 7.56 tmcft of water from the Mahadayi to meet the drinking water needs of the Hubli-Dharwad region in north Karnataka.
The delegation called for an assistance of Rs. 900 crore for providing relief to areas hit by flood mainly on account of excessive inflow from dams in Maharashtra; assistance of Rs. 500 crore for drought-affected districts; extension of the deadline for crop insurance till August end; and special support to 13 districts, where there have been cases of suicide by farmers.
Addressing a press conference after the meeting, Mr. Kumaraswamy said the Prime Minister advised that Maharashtra and Karnataka should work with mutual understanding on the border issue and promised that he would look into the matter.
The 30-member delegation also included State Congress President M. Mallikarjun Kharge, State BJP President D.V. Sadananda Gowda, State Janata Dal (S) President M.P. Prakash, Kannada Chaluvali leader Vattal Nagaraj, Janata Dal (United) President B. Somasekhar, Ministers H.D. Revanna and K.S. Eshwarappa and BJP leader H.S. Ananth Kumar.
Meets Vajpayee, Advani
Mr. Kumaraswamy also called on former Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee and Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha L.K. Advani. This is the first time Mr. Kumaraswamy is meeting with Mr. Vajpayee and Mr. Advani since the formation of the Janata Dal (Secular)-Bharatiya Janata Party coalition Government in Karnataka six months ago. He met Mr. Vajpayee at his residence and Mr. Advani at his office in Parliament House.
Speaking to presspersons, Mr. Kumaraswamy declined to divulge the details of the meeting except saying that it was a courtesy call.
Mr. Kumaraswamy said he invited Mr. Vajpayee to attend the inauguration of the Alamatti Dam. President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam is scheduled to dedicate the dam to the nation on August 21.