Most people in Belgaum want to remain with Karnataka and many of them are not even aware of Maharashtra’s demand that Marathi-speaking parts of the district be transferred to it.
This is the finding of a pre-poll survey conducted by CNN-IBN, Deccan Herald and the Centre for Study of Developing Societies (CSDS). The two states have been fighting over Belgaum since 1956 when the district was made a part of Karnataka with the passage of the States Reorganisation Act.
Only 41 per cent of the total respondents seemed to have any knowledge about Maharashtra’s demand for merging Marathi-speaking areas in Belgaum with Maharashtra—an indication perhaps that the linguistic divide has taken a backseat in Karnataka.
The pre-poll survey found that out of the 41 per cent respondents who knew about the Belgaum debate an overwhelming 58 per cent thought Maharashtra’s demand for Belgaum was unjustified. Only 31 per cent felt otherwise.
Belgaum has been an issue in all elections but this time when it goes to polls in the third and final phase of voting on May 22 parties would know what its people want.