President to open ‘Suvarna Soudha’ on Thursday

Press Trust of India Belgaum | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on October 10, 2012

Stately splendour: A view of the illuminated Suvarna Soudha in Belgaum. – Photo: D.B. Patil   -  Business Line

President Pranab Mukherjee will inaugurate the ‘Suvarna Vidhana Soudha,’ a Rs 400-crore second legislature complex here tomorrow, amid objections by some political parties in Maharashtra citing the boundary dispute between Karnataka and its neighbouring State.

The construction of Suvarna Vidhana Soudha, modelled on the State Secretariat Vidhana Soudha in Bangalore, is considered a symbolic assertion of Karnataka’s long-held position that Belgaum is an integral part of the State.

Maharashtra claims that Belgaum belongs to it but Karnataka has maintained the issue had been settled long time ago when the Centre-appointed Mahajan Commission in its report in August 1967 had categorically stated that the city was part of Karnataka.

Marathi stand

Maharashtra Minister and NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal and Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray have appealed to the President not to inaugurate the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha, holding that his participation would mean the Centre was sidelining their State’s rights over the “Marathi-dominated areas.”

After inaugurating the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha, which houses the bi-cameral legislature and the Secretariat, Mukherjee will address a joint session of the Assembly and Council.

With pro-Maharashtra outfits, including Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (MES), deciding to stage protests against Mukherjee’s visit to inaugurate the building, elaborate security arrangements have been made by police.

While the proposal to build a legislature building in Belgaum to counter Maharashtra’s claim to the area had been mooted several years ago, the project gained momentum during JDS-BJP coalition government led by H.D. Kumaraswamy in 2007.

The first special session of legislature outside Bangalore was held in Belgaum in September 2006.

Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar today said the government proposed to hold a legislature session in the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha in the last week of November or first week of December.

The Suvarna Vidhana Soudha is a three-floored structure spread over 16,138 sq.m and consists of an Assembly hall that seats 300, a Council hall for 100 members, a 450-seat auditorium, 38 ministerial chambers and 14 meeting halls.

The President will also confer Jnanapeet Award to renowned Kannada literary personality Chandrasehkar Kambar and attend the Bhoomi Pujan of the Swami Vivekananda Value Education and Cultural Centre here.

‘Meaningless controversy’

Speaking to reporters in Bangalore, Shettar also dismissed as “politically motivated” and “meaningless” the Maharashtra political leaders’ appeal to the President to skip inauguration of Suvarna Vidhana Soudha.

He said the dispute was a closed chapter and there was no meaning in raking it up again and again.

He noted that Karnataka legislature sessions as well as Cabinet meetings have been held in Belgaum in the past. The issue is being raked up for “political reasons” by some people for their own “interests,” Shettar said.

The Suvarna Vidhana Soudha will give an impetus to development of the region, he added.

Published on October 10, 2012
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