Border dispute: Karnataka CM's comments need to be taken seriously, says Maha Cong chief

Mumbai, December 28 (PTI) Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole on Tuesday said the state government should take serious note of Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai's remark that 40 villages from Jat tehsil in the border district of Sangli were welcome to join the southern state.

Speaking on a point of information in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, Patole said the state government needs to understand what problems these villages are facing.

"Bommai has spoken about it in the Karnataka Assembly and we need to take it seriously. He also said Karnataka will not part with even an inch of Belagavi and other Marathi-dominated areas in that state," the Congress leader said.

Maharashtra and Karnataka are locked in a border dispute for several decades and the matter is pending before the Supreme Court.

Maharashtra stakes claim to Belagavi, Karwar and surrounding areas which have a sizable Marathi-speaking population and are part of the southern state.

NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal, who is coordination minister for the Marathi-dominated border areas in Karnataka, had last week asserted that what Bommai said would never happen.

Congress MLA Vikramsinh Sawant recently said in the Maharashtra Assembly these 40 villages had launched an agitation in 2011-12, threatening to join Karnataka if they did not get basic amenities including drinking water. But, the gram panchayats had not passed any resolution, he added.