Friday, Apr 16, 2004
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By Our Staff Correspondent
SAUNDATTI (BELGAUM DISTRICT), APRIL 15. The Chief Minister, S.M. Krishna, who seems to have taken strong exception to the remarks on regional imbalances made by the Prime Minister, A.B. Vajpayee, in his election speech in Belgaum recently, said they were not in keeping with the spirit of federalism.
Replying to a question here on Thursday, he said the Union Government was discriminating against a few States, and this had affected development. "It is driving us to a dead end, and the spirit of federalism is being threatened (by the Vajpayee Government) at will,'' he added.
Mr. Krishna said a political motive was visible in the Centre's attitude towards Karnataka. The State had not been treated fairly in release of finds for relief programmes and in the sharing of river waters. The Centre was going back on its commitment to the establishment of an international airport at Devanahalli, he added.
"I do not understand what's happening,'' Mr. Krishna said and added that there was a demand from all over the world to set up an international airport in Bangalore which had now emerged as a "gateway to India.'' Earlier, addressing a Congress rally, he said the Centre appeared to have been waiting for an objection from Goa to negate its own approval to the Kalasa and Banduri nala diversion projects in Belgaum district to meet the water requirement of Saundatti and Dharwad district. His Government had sanctioned Rs. 44.48 crore for the Kalasa project and Rs. 40.20 crore for Banduri nala project, but work on these projects could not be taken up as the Centre had withdrawn approval. "Such an attitude on the part of the Centre has hurt our self-respect," he added.
He said the Centre needed to adopt a broader perspective of inter-State issues, keeping in view the overall interest of the nation. "If you cannot solve such small issues, how can you solve the major issues of the country?'' he asked the Prime Minister.
Asked about the "hesitation" of the Congress to project its prime-ministerial candidate, he said there was no ambiguity in its stand, and that the party President, Sonia Gandhi, was its candidate. However, in the event of a front other than the National Democratic Alliance coming to power at the Centre, the constituents of the front would take a decision on who should be the Prime Minister, he added.
Mr. Krishna, who arrived here after meeting his Maharashtra counterpart, Sushil Kumar Shinde, on Wednesday, said the two governments had agreed to evolve a permanent solution to meet the drinking water requirement of the two States, mutually, when there was shortage. Mr. Shinde had conceded his request to release water into the Krishna river, and it would reach Athani. This followed the release of water from Karnataka to Akalkot in Solapur district of Maharashtra.
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