Chennai: Protests demanding the constitution of the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) became louder and stronger in Tamil Nadu with the opposition parties led by the DMK staging a sudden road roko agitation in the city on Sunday.
DMK working president M.K. Stalin, who sported a green shawl to express his solidarity with the farmers, was among scores of leaders and cadres who were held by the police and later let off.
Earlier, addressing a mammoth crowd at the Valluvar Kottam, the venue for the protest, Mr Stalin said he has also called upon the traders to support the opposition-sponsored bandh on April 5 instead of holding a separate band on April 3, and ensure the voice of TN is heard.
“Our protest will continue till the Cauvery Management Board is constituted. On behalf of all the parties we have planned to continue with our protests,” Mr Stalin said leading the protest after chairing the all-party meeting at DMK headquarters, Anna Arivalayam, where it was resolved to organise a statewide bandh on April 5 over the issue.
“Don’t change the rice bowl (Thanjavur) of Tamil Nadu into a region of stones. Implement the order of the Supreme Court,” a slogan raised during the demonstration, said.
TNCC president Su Thirunavukkarasar, State secretaries of CPI and CPI (M) R. Mutharasan and K. Balakrishnan respectively, VCK chief Thol Thirumavalavan, MMK leader M.H. Jawahirullah, Dravidar Kazhagam chief K. Veeramani was among the leaders who participated in the demonstration. Most of them sported green shawls.
DMK’s Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi staged a demonstration in Tirunelveli over the Cauvery issue and opposing the detention of Mr Stalin for starting the agitation here.
Meanwhile, a similar protest by the pro-Tamil outfit, Tamizhaga Vazhvurimai Katch (TVK) led by its chief T. Velmurugan turned violent when some of its members damaged a toll plaza at Ullundurpet in nearby Villupuram district.
‘For no-confidence if Congress supports’
AIADMK senior leader and Lok Sabha deputy speaker M. Thambidurai has bowled a Cauvery googly declaring that his party would consider moving a no-trust motion in Parliament against the Centre, provided the Congress supports it.
“Stalin says AIADMK should bring a no-trust motion (on Cauvery issue). We are ready to bring it,” he told reporters at the airport. In the same breath, the shrewd politician said any no-confidence move from the AIADMK must have the Congress’ backing as otherwise the motion would not have the required numbers in Parliament.
“Let Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi issue a statement (indicating support), they (DMK) are in alliance with them (Congress)... only if they (Congress) support, we will get the (requisite) numbers,” he said, knowing fully well that the Congress would never be able to do that and derail party Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in poll-bound Karnataka.
Thambidurai had another rider for his party’s no-confidence motion — it would be restricted to the Cauvery issue only. “Only on the Cauvery issue... not for any other general issue. To urge constitution of the Cauvery Management Board, and since the Centre has failed to do that, we will consider that if other parties like Congress support it.”