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Patil sends message to govt on border issue
Mumbai, Sep 25 (PTI) Sending a message to the Karnataka government on the vexed border issue, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister R R Patil today said that "public opinion cannot be changed by using police force".

"Never in world history has anyone been able to change public opinion through use of force", Patil said while addressing a large convention of Marathi-speaking populace in border areas of Karnataka at Belgaum.

The convention, attended by over a lakh people, was intended to send a strong message "to all concerned" that the 10 crore people of Maharashtra were with the Marathi-speaking populace of the border areas in their "struggle", Patil told reporters here on arrival from Belgaum.

At the convention, Patil, who belongs to Sangli district bordering Karnataka, had assured the co-linguists of Belgaum district that his state would stand by them and support their movement for merger of Marathi speaking areas of Karnataka with Maharashtra.

A leader of the 'Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti', which organised the 'mahasammelan' (convention), which coincided with Karnataka assembly's special session in Belgaum, told PTI over phone that "Patil was invited not because he is Deputy Chief Minister but because he supports our cause."

Karnataka convened the legislature session to "prove" to the Supreme Court, which Maharashtra has approached, that it still has a "hold" on Belgaum, Patil said.

Shiv Sena leader Madhukar Sarpotdar, who also spoke at the convention, said his party was "fully supporting the Marathi-speaking people of Karnataka".

"These people, who desire a merger with Maharashtra, have suffered for last 50 years. We will take all steps to end their suffering," he told PTI.

Maharashtra BJP general secretary Vinod Tawde, whose party is a constituent of the Karnataka Government, said "when the border issue is subjudice, there was no need to hold an assembly session at Belgaum."

"BJP supports the struggle of Marathi people and would be with them in this struggle", Tawde said in a statement.

Tawde also accused the Congress for keeping people of 814 villages and towns in Karnataka, which have a predominantly Marathi-speaking populace, in that state when Mysore state came into being on November 1, 1956.
Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
FILED IN: |Karnataka
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