TAMIL NADU

Linking rivers irrelevant to Cauvery issue: Ramadoss

VILLUPURAM OCT. 31 . The Pattali Makkal Katchi founder, S. Ramadoss, today came down on the filmstar, Rajnikant, for suggesting interlinking of Himalayan and peninsular rivers to solve the Cauvery issue and other inter-State disputes.

The suggestion for linking rivers had no relevance to the Cauvery issue at all. Expressing such views was a "diversionary tactic'', which would be detrimental to the rights and interests of Tamil Nadu.

At a press conference at his Thailapuram farm house, Dr. Ramadoss said he would launch next year a "lighting movement'' (Vilakketrum Iyakkam) to make Tamils "uphold their honour and self-respect.''

Without mentioning the name of Mr. Rajnikant, the PMK leader resorted to a veiled attack.

Alleging that "anti-Tamil elements'' shuddered at the thought of a genuine Tamil taking over the reins in the State, he said "these oppressive forces are bent on pushing a reluctant filmstar into politics and thrusting him on the people of Tamil Nadu.''

In an oblique reference to the filmstar's remark that he was also aware of the difficulties faced by farmers in Karnataka, Dr. Ramadoss said nobody in Tamil Nadu should express views in favour of that State, which had not only failed to honour the Supreme Court order on the Cauvery issue but also "lacked magnanimity and fraternity.''

"It is unfortunate that when unanimity prevails in Karnataka on the Cauvery issue, there are people in Tamil Nadu who attempt to divert the whole issue by arguing that Tamils residing in Bangalore will be attacked if the demand for release of Cauvery water as per the law is stressed'', said the PMK leader.

Though he also favoured interlinking of rivers in the national interest, priority should be given to assert Tamil Nadu's rights in the Cauvery issue. "We will raise our voice for this, besides launching a people's movement.''

Claiming that linking of the Himalayan and peninsular rivers was a long-term project, Dr. Ramadoss said it might take even 30 years for completion. "Can Tamil Nadu farmers depend merely on monsoon rains for kuruvai and samba crops till then?''

Against this backdrop, he would launch the "lighting movement''.

All Tamils, cutting across partylines, could join. Dr. Ramadoss denied that it was aimed at countering the "people's movement'' proposed to be launched by Mr. Rajnikant.

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