President to open Karnataka's second legislature complex

Last Updated: Wed, Oct 10, 2012 07:52 hrs

Belgaum: President Pranab Mukherjee will tomorrow inaugurate the 'Suvarna Soudha', a Rs 400 crore second legislature complex here, amid objections by some political parties in Maharashtra citing the boundary dispute between Karnataka and its neighbouring state.

The construction of Suvarna Soudha built on the similar lines of 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 central-government appointed Mahajan Commission in its report in August 1967 had categorically stated that the city was part of Karnataka.

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

After inaugurating the Suvarna Soudha, which houses the bi-cameral legislature and the Secretariat, Mukherjee would 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 Soudha in the last week of November or first week of December.

The Suvarna 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 would 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.

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