Seeking to send a clear message to Maharashtra, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa on Friday said Belgaum was an integral part his state.
"Belgaum is an integral part of Karnataka. Let there be no doubt in anybody", Yeddyurappa said in his address to 'Vishwa Kannada Sammelana' (world kannada conference) in this district headquarters town bordering Maharashtra.
By holding the legislative session outside Bengaluru in Belgaum and holding this convention, this fact was sought to be reinforced (that Belgaum is an integral part of Karnataka), Yeddyurappa said.
The Mahajan Commission in its report stated that Belgaum, which has a sizeable Marathi population, is a part of Karnataka but Maharashtra has repeatedly staked its claim to the region with the case still pending in Supreme Court.
"Suvarna Soudha being constructed here will be completed soon to become a permanent location for legislative sessions", he said.
The chief minister said linguistic minorities including, those who are natives of Karnataka, are all Kannadigas. The conference is aimed at emotional bonding between Kannadigas who went out of the state pursuing educational, professional and business opportunities and those back home.
The three-day event is also intended to take stock of the developments and changes in the life of Kannadigas and draw up a blue-print for future, he added.
Bollywood actor Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, who was the special guest in the inaugural ceremony, was the cynosure of all eyes.
"Rashtra Kavi" G S Shivarudrappa and Jnanapeeta awardee U R Ananthamurthy were among those present.