While voicing hope that the Centre would constitute the Cauvery Management Board and the Water Regulation Committee following the notification of the final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Saturday said she would ensure it through legal means, if the Centre failed in its duty.
Addressing a mammoth meeting organised in Thanjavur for her efforts to get the final award notified in the Union gazette, Ms. Jayalalithaa said her stand on the Cauvery dispute had always been consistent and she had even sacrificed her Ministers in the BJP-led government at the Centre, when it decided to create a Cauvery River Authority despite her stiff opposition. She described the authority headed by the Prime Minister as useless, powerless and totally against the interest of Tamil Nadu. She would never make any compromise where the State’s interests were concerned.
“But former Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi’s stand on the Cauvery issue was always guided by selfishness,” she said and accused him of functioning like an “advocate of Karnataka since his days as Public Works Minister in the first DMK government.”
Rejecting Mr. Karunanidhi’s criticism questioning the holding of celebrations for the notification of the award, which she had once criticised for being against the State’s interests, Ms. Jayalalithaa said even now she was of the same opinion, but features of the award that were against Tamil Nadu should be remedied through the Supreme Court.
“But I have always reiterated that the final award should be notified,” she said.
She also refused to give any credit to Mr. Karunanidhi or the DMK regime on the Cauvery issue, saying the tribunal itself was created following a letter from former Chief Minister M.G. Ramachandran in 1986 to the Centre and a writ petition filed by S. Ranganathan, general secretary of the Cauvery Delta Farmers Welfare Association, on behalf of the farmers.
“The biggest setback to Tamil Nadu on the Cauvery issue was caused by Mr. Karunanidhi’s decision to withdraw the petition filed by the State government in the Supreme Court in 1972 following a request from Indira Gandhi,” she said.
She also alleged that Mr Karunanidhi never made any effort to notify the order, though the award was given when he was the Chief Minister and the DMK was part of the Congress-led UPA at the Centre.
“First, he said it could be notified only after 90 days. Then he argued, if notified, the State government could not approach the court for any remedies,” she said and explained that her consistent efforts had resulted in the order being notified.
Ms. Jayalalithaa said Tamil Nadu had been depending on the Supreme Court for all issues and expressed the hope “soon a time will come to free us from this.”
She said notification of the final award of the Tribunal was not only a victory for her, but also for the people of Tamil Nadu, especially farmers of Cauvery delta.
S. Ranganathan, Secretary of Cauvery Delta Farmers Welfare Association, said a new chapter had begun in the history of the Cauvery issue.
CPI state secretary D. Pandian was the only political leader invited for the function organised to felicitate the Chief Minister.
“She is the man of the series though a lot of people made their contribution towards getting justice for Tamil Nadu,” he said. Leaders of the farmers associations and agricultural labours association affiliated to the CPI were present. The function venue was bursting at the seams.