DMK president M. Karunanidhi on Tuesday asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to make a final decision on invoking Article 356 against the Karnataka government in the interest of promoting amity between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to protect national unity.
Mr. Karunanidhi, twice a victim of Article 356, which provides for dismissal of State governments and imposition of President’s rule, said he was making the demand not out of hatred for the people of Karnataka. DMK governments headed by him were dismissed once in 1976 and again in 1991.
“I am making this demand with tears and a trembling voice so that it will be lesson to a heartless State like Karnataka, and also to ensure that the paddy fields of Tamil Nadu will not turn into graveyards,” Mr. Karunanidhi said in a statement.
The DMK leader said he was hopeful that resort to Article 356 would put an end to the betrayal of one State by another and teach a fitting lesson to the State government, which had shown scant regard for the ruling of Prime Minister, who is the head of the Cauvery River Authority (CRA), a statutory body.
Recalling his efforts towards constituting the CRA when A.B. Vajpayee was the Prime Minister in 1998, he said relationship between the people of the two States suffered after Chief Minister Jayalalithaa described it as a “toothless authority” and refused to attend its meetings.
Later, when the DMK came to power, he once again took efforts to build bridges with Karnataka with the help B.S. Yeddyurappa, the then Chief Minister. A statue of Tamil savant Tiruvalluvar was unveiled in Bangalore and Tamil Nadu reciprocated the gesture by unveiling the statue of Kannada poet Sarvajna in Chennai.
Mr. Karunanidhi said Karnataka had once again turned adamant now and was refusing to implement the rulings of the Supreme Court and the Prime Minister.
“It is not only denying water to irrigate agricultural land that had dried up, but is also indulging in activities aimed at showing that Tamil Nadu has no right to seek water. It has damaged the relationship between the two States,” he said.
The DMK leader said those in power in Karnataka appeared to treat the people of Tamil Nadu as their enemies and farmers as their traditional rivals. They wanted to create permanent enmity between the people of the two States.
“It has put a question mark on the nation’s integrity. It is not only regrettable, but also condemnable,” he said.
Earlier, in another statement, he condemned External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna’s appeal to Prime Minister to stop release of water to Tamil Nadu.