With the Cauvery issue hotting up, and the possibility of a confrontation between Karnataka and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the Cauvery River Authority directive, Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar has urged Union Ministers from Karnataka to safeguards the interests of the State.

Talking to presspersons at Mangalore airport on Monday, on his way to Udupi, Mr. Shetter said the four Union Ministers from Karnataka — External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, Labour Minister M. Mallikarjun Kharge, Corporate Affairs Minister M. Veerappa Moily and Union Minister of State for Railways K.H. Muniyappa — should pressurise the Prime Minister into “understanding the ground realities in the State”, while Lok Sabha members from the State should raise the issue in the Parliament.

They should, he said, follow the example of the former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, who had met the Prime Minister personally on the issue.

Denying the Opposition’s claim that the BJP-led government had not taken the issue seriously, Mr. Shettar said the government had done all it could to convince the Supreme Court that they could not afford to release 9,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu daily, as directed by the CRA, when the State itself was battling severe drought.

“The Supreme Court only went by what the CRA said, and the CRA made the decision without knowing the realities of the State. We have asked the Prime Minister to send an expert team to assess the ground realities here,” he said.