Political parties in Tamil Nadu on Monday accused the Centre of “betraying” the state by seeking modification of a Supreme Court order asking it to constitute the Cauvery Water Management Board (CWMB). The ruling AIADMK and Opposition DMK alleged that the BJP-led government at the Centre made the move with an eye on Karnataka Assembly polls scheduled in 2018.
AIADMK spokesperson C R Saraswathi said it was not clear why the Centre, “which had earlier assured to constitute the CWMB”, made such a submission in the Supreme Court today. Usually Karnataka “betrayed” Tamil Nadu on the Cauvery issue, but “why is the Centre doing it now?” she asked.
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“This is the people’s issue. What is the need for politics? Congress and BJP are keen on capturing power in Karnataka and are not bothered about the farmers of Tamil Nadu,” she told reporters.
She said the constitution of the CWMB alone would ensure a “good solution” to the issue.
The demand for constituting the board was not new and the state government had been pressing for it ever since the BJP came to power in 2014, she said.
DMK President M Karunanidhi said the Centre has “belittled” the Indian judicial system and “betrayed” Tamils by making the submission in the apex court.
He urged the state government to convene an all-party meeting and hold a special sitting of the state Assembly to discuss the matter.
“Those in power at the Centre (BJP) have taken a sudden, biased decision with an eye on the Karnataka polls. It (Centre) has completely echoed Karnataka’s voice. This is condemnable,” he said.
Unable to find a foothold in Tamil Nadu, BJP has resorted to such a move with the hope of at least winning the Karnataka polls, he said.
This amounted to “belittling Indian justice delivery system and betraying Tamil people”, he said, alleging that the Centre had only echoed the statements of Karnataka Ministers in the Union Cabinet on the Cauvery issue.
“Under these circumstances, the decisions of the Centre (moving the Apex Court) and Karnataka (not to release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu) should be unitedly opposed by all in Tamil Nadu,” he said.
MDMK founder Vaiko also lashed out at the Centre for “betraying” Tamil Nadu.
“By not respecting the Supreme Court, the Narendra Modi government has made a mockery of the Constitution,” he said, adding it should withdraw its submission to the court and immediately constitute the CWMB.
CPI(M) state secretary G Ramakrishnan said the issue of CWMB was not new as the Supreme Court had only asked the Centre to implement a ruling given by the Cauvery disputes Tribunal in this regard.
VCK founder Thol Thirumavalavan also denounced the Centre for its “betrayal” on the CWMB issue.
TNCC President Su Thirunavukkarasar, CPI state secretary R Mutharasan, TMC Leader G K Vasan, PMK founder Dr S Ramadoss and a host of political leaders and farmers’ bodies urged the Centre to constitute the CWMB.
The Centre moved the Apex Court today, seeking modification of its earlier order asking it to constitute the CWMB by Tuesday.
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the court that the Centre should not have been asked to constitute the CWMB as the main civil appeal on the issue was still pending and the task of setting up the board fell under the domain of the Executive.