Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Friday said that the state government will move the Supreme Court on the issue of constituting the Cauvery Water Management Board (CMB) even as party’s Rajya Sabha member, S Muthukaruppan, said that he has decided to resign as an MP in protest against the Centre’s failure to form the board.
Asked what kind of petition the state intends to file in Supreme Court, Palaniswami told the media in Madurai, according to PTI, “All that is still being discussed with legal experts.”
Thursday was the deadline set by Supreme Court for the Centre to form the CMB. In Chennai, Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar reiterated, according to PTI, “We are going to approach the Supreme Court…the government is holding discussions.” He indicated that the AIADMK government may move the top court in a couple of days on the issue.
Stating that he has not yet discussed his decision with the party, Muthukaruppan on Friday said, “Amma (late J Jayalalithaa) gave me this post (of Upper House MP). But when you (Centre) are playing with the lives of farmers for votes in Karnataka, why should I continue as an MP?”
While the government was not able to come out with a decision despite a high-level meeting chaired by Palaniswami on Thursday, the AIADMK on Friday announced a decision to hold hunger strike across the state Monday. Meanwhile, having remained incommunicado for the last couple of days, another AIADMK MP in Rajya Sabha, A Navaneethakrishnan, who had threatened to commit suicide unless the BJP-led Centre forms the CMB, on Friday finally surfaced and said that his suicide threat should not be interpreted literally.
He said, “I visited Thanjavur. People were appreciating me for reflecting their feelings in the House (Rajya Sabha). The BJP government is delaying the formation of Cauvery Water Management Board due to the elections in Karnataka. My statement (in Rajya Sabha) was out of frustration.”
On Wednesday, Navaneethakrishnan had said in the Upper House: “Sir, a serious problem is going on. Our Constitution became a failed one. If the Central government refuses to implement the judgment (in Cauvery water dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu) given by Supreme Court…(Speaker interrupts) there is a demand in Tamil Nadu that all AIADMK MPs must resign, but we are ready to commit suicide.”
Navaneethakrishnan, who reportedly returned to Chennai, remained unreachable for the media and many party leaders since Wednesday —- until Friday evening. But V Maitreyan, one of the party’s seniormost MPs, ruled out any resignations. “Resignation of MPs will not help. We are a united force; we (MPs) will continue this protest in Delhi while the party is organising protests across Tamil Nadu,” he said.
Laughing off Navaneethakrishnan’s suicide threat, a senior party MP, who is seen as being close to rival camps led by Palaniswami and rebel party leader T T V Dinakaran, said, “Forget about resignations, nothing will happen even if we commit suicide. The Centre will take a decision only after the polls (in Karnataka) are over. They (Centre) may have hundreds of reasons to explain (in SC) the delay in constituting the Cauvery management board.”
In its judgment on petitions filed by Karnataka and Tamil Nadu governments, the Supreme Court had on February 16 raised the 270 tmcft share of Karnataka by 14.75 tmcft and reduced Tamil Nadu’s share. The court had compensated Tamil Nadu by allowing extraction of 10 tmcft groundwater from the Cauvery basin.
(With inputs from PTI in Madurai)