Opposition parties in Karnataka Saturday asked the Siddaramaiah government not to release “at any cost” 6,000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu as directed by the Supreme Court, and to oppose the formation of the Cauvery Water Management Board.
Emerging out of a more than a three-hour long all-party meeting here, BJP and JDS leaders said they told the government to stick to the resolution passed by both the Houses of state legislature on September 23 that water should be used only for drinking purpose, and not be spared for any other use.
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Soon after the all-party meet, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah went into a huddle at a meeting of the Council of Ministers which would take a call on the Supreme Court directive.
Taking Karnataka to task for its repeated “defiance” by flouting its orders on release of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu and giving it a last chance, the Supreme Court yesterday asked it to discharge 6,000 cusecs from October 1 to 6, warning no one would know when the “wrath of the law” would fall on it.
The court had also directed the Centre to constitute the Cauvery Water Management Board by October 4.
“We should not obey the Supreme Court order at any cost as it is unimplementable. The House (legislature) decision should be upheld. Government should stick to the decision,” Opposition BJP leader in the Assembly Jagadish Shettar told reporters.
He said BJP was opposed to the formation of the Cauvery Water Management Board and added, “We will do all that is necessary to put pressure on the Centre (not to constitute it).”
JDS leader Y S V Datta said the state should not release 6,000 cusecs as directed by the apex court “at any cost”. “Whatever may be the consequences, we will all face it together. We are with the government,” he said.
He said since the state was opposed to the formation of the Cauvery Water Management Board, it should not name its representatives to it.
Datta said that if a situation of contempt of the court was to arise, all MPs, MLAs and MLCs should submit affidavits stating that that they all be made responsible and not just the Chief Minister and the Chief Secretary.
Meanwhile, former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda today began an “indefinite” fast seeking “justice” for Karnataka in the ongoing row with Tamil Nadu.
The 83-year-old Janata Dal (Secular) supremo is sitting on fast near the Mahatma Gandhi statue next to Vidhana Soudha, the state secretariat here, saying, “We want justice. Drinking water is essential for humans to survive.”
Asserting that he would continue his protest till Karnataka gets justice from the Union government, Gowda said he still has “confidence” in the Prime Minister that the issue will be resolved.
Home Minister G Parameshwara, who visited Gowda, said the former Prime Minister had always fought for the state’s interests and added, “I hope it (the hunger strike) will open the eyes of the judiciary.”
Union Ministers D V Sadananda Gowda and Ramesh Jigajinagi and former Chief Ministers B S Yeddyurappa (BJP) and Shettar, JDS leader H D Kumaraswamy and Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge were among those who attended the meet.
An attempt to broker an agreement between the two squabbling states by the Centre on September 29 had failed to yield any result.
The Cauvery Supervisory Committee had on September 19 asked Karnataka to release 3,000 cusecs daily from September 21 to 30, but the apex court the next day doubled the quantum to 6,000 cusecs from September 21 to 27 after Tamil Nadu pressed for water to save its samba paddy crop.
On September 27, the Supreme Court bench directed Karnataka to release 6,000 cusecs water to Tamil Nadu for three days, despite the resolution of the state legislature.
In between on September 12, the court had modified its order of September 5 directing Karnataka to release 12,000 cusecs per day till September 20 to Tamil Nadu.
The September 5 order had directed release of 15,000 cusecs of Cauvery water per day to Tamil Nadu for the next 10 days.
In an unprecedented move in the more than century-long Cauvery dispute, both the Legislative Assembly and the Council on September 23 had adopted the resolution not to provide water for any other purpose except to meet drinking needs, citing “acute distress” and “alarmingly low levels” in its dams.