They withdraw dharna in Assembly only after he apologises

North Karnataka MLAs belonging to the Congress staged a dharna in the Legislative Assembly, along with two Opposition members, taking exception to a remark of Deputy Leader of the Opposition Y.S.V. Datta on legislators of which part of the State strongly advocated the cause of Krishna waters in the House in the last five decades.

They withdrew the dharna only after Mr. Datta apologised and withdrew his remarks. Mr. Datta clarified that he was only trying to make a point that people from south Karnataka too had serious concerns over Krishna waters. The episode unfolded when Mr. Datta maintained that the suggestion by Congress member Basavaraj Rayareddi that the House adopt a unanimous resolution on protecting the State’s rights with respect to Krishna waters would not serve any purpose.

“Such resolutions adopted earlier with respect to Cauvery waters have not helped much. The need of the hour is to fight for our rights in Delhi,” he said.

Taking exception to this, Mr. Rayareddi wondered if it was fair to adopt such a resolution only for the Cauvery issue. Responding to this, Mr. Datta argued that it was wrong to think that MLAs from south Karnataka were ignoring the Krishna issue and made the remark about certain MLAs speaking more on Krishna issue.

Expressing anger over such remarks, Mr. Rayareddi and Karnataka Janata Paksha member B.R. Patil maintained that such remarks and manner in which they were made had amounted to questioning the contribution of north Karnataka legislators to the cause of Krishna waters. They walked into the well of the House and commenced a dharna demanding an apology from Mr. Datta. The north Karnataka MLAs from the Congress followed, while Kannada Makkala Paksha member Ashok Kheny also joined the group.

At this juncture, Mr. Datta withdrew his remarks. When the members continued the dharna, Deputy Speaker Shivashankar Reddy adjourned the House for some time to hold a meeting of the floor leaders. When the House re-assembled, Mr. Datta apologised and the protesting members withdrew their dharna.

Earlier, Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly H.D. Kumaraswamy urged the government to consult experts, including the former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, with respect to safeguarding the State’s interests regarding sharing of Krishna waters in the wake of the clarification issued by the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal II.

‘Control damage’

He said the government has to take steps to control the damage done to the State with regard to allocation of Krishna waters.

Already, Andhra Pradesh leaders, led by Telugu Desam Party leader Chandrababu Naidu, had met President Pranab Mukherjee and urged him to impress upon the Centre not to notify the final award, he pointed out.