President Pranab Mukherjee will on Thursday inaugurate the 'Suvarna Vidhana Soudha', a Rs 400 crore legislature complex in Belgaum, amid objections by some political parties in Maharashtra.
The construction of 'Suvarna Vidhana Soudha' -- built on the lines of the state Secretariat 'Vidhana Soudha' in Bangalore -- is considered a symbolic assertion of Karnataka's long-held position that Belgaum is an integral part of the state.
Maharashtra claims that Belgaum belongs to it but Karnataka has maintained that the issue had been settled long time ago -- when the central-government appointed Mahajan Commission in its report in August 1967 had categorically stated that the city was part of Karnataka.
Maharashtra minister and Nationalist Congress Party leader Chhagan Bhujbal and Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray have appealed to the President not to inaugurate the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha, holding that his participation would mean that the Centre was sidelining their state's rights over "Marathi-dominated areas".
After inaugurating the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha, which houses the bi-cameral legislature and the Secretariat, Mukherjee will address a joint session of the assembly and Council.
With pro-Maharashtra outfits including Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti deciding to stage protests against Mukherjee's visit to inaugurate the building, elaborate security arrangements have been made by the police.
While the proposal to build a legislature building in Belgaum to counter Maharashtra's claim to the area had been mooted several years ago, the project gained momentum during the tenure of the Janata Dal Secular-Bharatiya Janata Party coalition government led by H D Kumaraswamy in 2007.
The first special session of legislature outside Bangalore was held in Belgaum in September 2006.
Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar on Wednesday said the government wanted to hold a legislature session in the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha in the last week of November or first week of December.
The Suvarna Vidhana Soudha is a three-floored structure spread over 16,138 sq m and consists of an assembly hall that seats 300, a Council hall for 100 members, a 450-seat auditorium, 38 ministerial chambers and 14 meeting halls.
The President will also confer the Jnanapeet Award to renowned Kannada literary personality Chandrasehkar Kambar and attend the bhoomi pujan of the Swami Vivekananda Value Education and Cultural Centre.