Source: Deccan Herald
Ever since the reorganisation of Indian states in 1956, Karnataka’s border dispute with Maharashtra over parts of Belgaum district, has been rearing its head at regular frequency. How do voters in the state respond to this issue?
Respondents to a survey were asked if they had heard about the dispute. Those who replied in the affirmative were further asked whether the demand to merge the areas claimed to be Marathi-speaking with Maharashtra was in any way justified or was unjustified. Across the state, less than half the respondents had heard about the border dispute with Maharashtra. The level of awareness about this dispute was expectedly much higher in the Mumbai-Karnataka region. Respondents in the Coastal Karnataka region too were more aware of the existence of a border row. In the Hyderabad-Karnataka region there was greater awareness of the issue as compared to those in Central Karnataka, Southern Karnataka and Bangalore. The survey was conducted in six of the 18 constituencies in Belgaum district. Not surprisingly, the level of awareness about the border dispute was much higher in Belgaum district with nearly two-thirds of the respondents claiming to be aware of the issue.
It was noted that more than two-thirds of those who took a stand on the issue felt that it was unjustified to demand for the merger of what is termed as the Marathi-speaking regions with Maharashtra Among those who said that the demand was not correct, an overwhelmingly large percentage of them said that the demand was totally unjustified. It is important to record that in the Belgaum district too, nearly 60 per cent of those who took a stand on the issue said that the demand was unjustified. Here too, a significantly large proportion opined that merging the so-called Marathi regions with Maharashtra was unjustified.