CHENNAI: Under pressure from Opposition parties, especially the DMK, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Monday convened an all-party meeting here on Thursday to discuss the next course of action to be followed by the Tamil Nadu Government on the sensitive Cauvery river water issue. The announcement of the meeting on Monday was significant as it came just hours after Opposition Leader decided to outsmart the ruling party by announcing an all-party meeting on the Cauvery issue and even inviting the AIADMK. DMK Working President M K Stalin convened the meeting, but cancelled it immediately after the government issued an official statement about Thursday’s discussion.
“Discussions with legal experts on the Supreme Court verdict on Cauvery are on. The Government has decided to convene an all-party meeting under the leadership of the Chief Minister to decide on the follow-up actions on the verdict at 10.30 am on Thursday at the Secretariat,” the government said in an official statement. “After discussions with leaders of political parties, the government will take immediate steps (on the issue),” the statement further said.
The announcement came after Palaniswami held consultations with senior ministers D Jayakumar, K A Sengottaiyan and others on the measures to be taken by Tamil Nadu to claim its rights over Cauvery river water. Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, who was in Madurai, could not make it to the meeting, raising many an eyebrow.
Palaniswami has been under pressure from the DMK and other parties to convene a meeting of representatives of all political parties. However, Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar rejected suggestions that the announcement was made only to pre-empt the DMK's all-party meeting. “The judgement runs into hundreds of pages and we were discussing the verdict with legal experts. It takes time. There is no pressure from anywhere to convene the all-party meeting. The government decided to consult all leaders as it is committed to bringing the Cauvery water to the state,” Jayakumar said.
The minister also accused Stalin of “urgently announcing the meeting” after getting to know that the government will react on Monday. The DMK, which made an informal announcement on the issue on Sunday night, cancelled the meeting scheduled for Friday and decided to participate in the discussions to be chaired by Palaniswami. Delivering its verdict on the dispute involving the southern states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, besides Kerala and Puducherry, the court had raised the 270 tmcft share of Cauvery water for Karnataka by 14.75 tmcft and reduced the share of Tamil Nadu....