Meena Menon

MUMBAI: Unfazed by threats from its alliance partner Shiv Sena to break the partnership over the border issue with Karnataka, the Bharatiya Janata Party said the issue was in the Supreme Court. The party called on President Pratibha Patil to intervene in the matter.

While BJP-ruled Karnataka government is refusing to give up Marathi-speaking areas to Maharashtra, the party is silent on this. Activists protesting the holding of the Karnataka Assembly session in Belgaum were lathi-charged. In retaliation, buses were burnt, and transport services were affected between the two States.

BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari did not condemn the Karnataka Chief Minister’s statement saying he would not concede an inch of land to Maharashtra. Mr. Bhandari said the statement was made in the Assembly in any case. He told reporters that the party expected nothing much from the Supreme Court on the issue and indicated that the Congress was to blame for the state of affairs.

The Shiv Sena has said it will take an all-party delegation to meet the President, and BJP State president Nitin Gadkari has welcomed the idea. The Sena has taken an aggressive stance. However, Mr. Gadkari also said there was no threat to the alliance in Maharashtra.

The BJP State executive passed a resolution on Tuesday which said that for 50 years the border issue was pending and the Centre had not given it justice. Once again, the border issue had come up and despite the Congress having governments both at the Centre and State, the issue was put on the backburner and there was no political will to solve it.

The BJP is of the firm opinion that the Marathi-speaking areas in the border must be made part of Maharashtra.