‘Power struggle within BJP also to blame for its failure to protect State’s interests’
Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah on Sunday demanded that Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar resign owning moral responsibility for the Cauvery fiasco affecting the interests of farmers.
Speaking to presspersons, he said that power struggle within the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party was also a reason for his failure. Questioning the propriety of Mr. Shettar walking out of the meeting of the Cauvery River Authority, a quasi-judicial body, he reminding him that the Supreme Court had opined that its order should be viewed as a decree. Alleging that the Government had failed in handling the case — both before the CRA and the court — he said that it had to abide by their order, though its affects farmers badly.
Mr. Siddaramaiah said Karnataka needed 155 tmcft of water for agriculture, drinking water needs and growing fodder till May 2013, but there would be a shortage of 85 tmcft. He said that had F.S. Nariman appeared before the apex court on September 27, he could have opposed Tamil Nadu counsel’s request for sending Army to Karnataka for releasing water. Why did he send Raghupathy, his junior to the court? he asked. What was the strategy that was formulated by the government and Mr. Nariman, he wondered.
Taking objection to the State agreeing before the court to release 10,000 cusecs as a goodwill gesture as made out by Mr. Nariman, Mr. Siddaramaiah said the government should have taken the Opposition to confidence. He did not exhaust options such as filing a review petition and request the Prime Minister to send experts’ team to Karnataka to assess the situation.
He said that the Chief Minister did not respond to the Congress leaders’ suggestions in Saturday’s meeting, but closeted with Janata Dal (Secular) leader H.D. Revanna after they left the venue. Ridiculing the former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda for advocating release of water for three days and approach the court, he said it was amusing that he wept later. He also took a dig at the BJP MP Ananth Kumar and D.B. Chandre Gowda for staging a dharna, terming it political gimmick. He said that Congress was not a party to such an action.
Dig at Gowda
The Congress leader said that Mr. Gowda, a veteran of such fights, should not have advised release of water. He said that Karnataka’s counsel Mohan Kataraki, who briefed the all-party meeting, had told that the State would have lost 35 tmcft of water, had the CRA not asked it to release 9,000 cusecs.