New Delhi: Even as the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance’s (INDIA) third meeting is all set to take place in Maharashtra’s Mumbai on August 31 and September 1 for two days, the Congress feels that it is the BJP that is instigating people to hold protests and create problems over the Cauvery water issue between the Karnataka and Tamil Nadu governments.
The Congress also said that all the parties are united on the issue of the Cauvery water.
The issue of the Cauvery water release by the Siddaramaiah-led Karnataka government to Tamil Nadu has gained momentum ahead of the INDIA alliance parties third crucial meeting in Mumbai.
The meeting will also be attended by Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK leader MK Stalin.
The two leaders might not discuss the Cauvery water issue in the INDIA alliance meeting, but Kharge being from Karnataka and Stalin from Tamil Nadu will be looking at each other with hope to take the alliance ahead for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections without any fissures.
The Cauvery water dispute is quite old between the two states that had on multiple occasions led to violent protests with people taking to the streets over it.
Speaking on the Cauvery water issue, if it will have any effect on the INDIA alliance ahead of the Lok Sabha polls which are just eight months away, Congress Lok Sabha MP from Tamil Nadu’s Virudhu Nagar Manickam Tagore said, “It is a Tamil Nadu and Karnataka issue and the Congress in Tamil Nadu also supports the Cauvery water issue.”
He said that the dispute is a state related problem and all parties of Tamil Nadu support it.
Targeting the BJP, the Congress leader, who is considered a close associate of former party chief Rahul Gandhi said, “The Cauvery water issue gaining momentum is due to the BJP people as they have been instigating people for protests and dharnas.”
He accused the BJP of creating problems in Karnataka as well as in Tamil Nadu over the issue.
Tagore said, “The issue of Cauvery water release is not an alliance problem but an issue involving two states.” He said that all the leaders and the parties are united on this issue.
The remarks from the Congress leader came as the BJP had on August 21 staged a protest in Karnataka’s Mandya district for releasing Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu. The BJP had targeted the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government in Karnataka for releasing water to Tamil Nadu.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) accused the Congress government of acting under its ally DMK’s pressure to release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu.
On August 21, addressing a press conference in the national capital at the party headquarters, Union Minister Rajiv Chandrasekhar said large parts of Karnataka have been facing a drought and the state government’s decision to release the water without consultation with other parties will lead to farmers’ distress.
He claimed that over 50 cases of farmer suicides have been recorded in the state within a short span of around two months of the Congress rule.
Chandrasekhar also alleged that the Congress government in Karnataka is characterised by misgovernance and corruption.
The issue of the Cauvery water had moved to the Supreme Court, which gave its verdict on February 16, 2018. As per the court directions, Karnataka needs to release water to Tamil Nadu and constituted the Cauvery Water Management Authority.
This was to monitor the water availability and use as per the directive of the Supreme Court which gave major relief to Tamil Nadu.
As per the Supreme Court directive, Karnataka has to provide 177 tmcc of water a year to Tamil Nadu — between June to May. Of this 123.14 tmcc has to be released between June to September which is the period of the southwest monsoon.
The Cauvery water is very important for Tamil Nadu and its politics also revolves around it. The Cauvery delta zone in Tamil Nadu is considered as ‘Nerkalanchiyam’ or Land of Paddy Cultivation and the river is worshipped as Goddess Kaveriamma in the southern state and is considered one of the seven sacred rivers of the country.
The Cauvery is a major river that originates from Thalakaveri in the Brahmagiri range of the Western Ghats in the Kodagu district of Karnataka and flows into the Bay of Bengal from Poompuhar in Myladuthurai district of Tamil Nadu.
The Cauvery enters Tamil Nadu through Dharmapuri district and reaches the Hogenakkal Falls. From there it reaches Salem district and enters the Stanley reservoir in Mettur and travels a total distance of 774 km within Tamil Nadu before flowing into the Bay of Bengal from Myladuthurai district.