Bengaluru: The BJP’s success in persuading Goa Chief Minister, Manohar Parrikar to release Mahadayi river water to Karnataka has left the state’s ruling Congress jittery as every brownie point earned by either party now counts with just a few months to go for the assembly poll.
Following his talks in Delhi with state BJP leaders in the presence of their national party president, Amit Shah, Mr. Parrikar has in a letter to state BJP chief, B S Yeddyurappa agreed to share Mahadayi water with North Karnataka to quench its people’s thirst in the drought-prone areas. The letter says, “You are well aware of the matter pending before the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal.
Although the issue of drinking water is pending before the tribunal, in principle the state of Goa will not oppose (release of ) a reasonable and justified quantum of water meant to be utilised for drinking water. However the same needs to be discussed bilaterally as suggested by the tribunal. The government of Goa understands that access to drinking water is a basic human need. Hence this is to confirm to you that on humanitarian grounds, the government of Goa is willing to consider the request to work out an amicable settlement strictly restricted to drinking water supply to the drought prone areas. It is needless to mention that the discussion shall be without prejudice to our rights and contentions before the tribunal, none of which are even touched by this letter. I appreciate your concern… and will extend the best possible co-operation in the matter.”
With Mr Parrikar’s climbdown from his adamant posture , the BJP has clearly scored as the Mahadayi dispute directly impacts 25 Assembly constituencies in Hubballi- Dharwad, Gadag and parts of Belagavi district. Clearly not comfortable with the saffron party’s successful intervention, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is now questioning its locus standi to announce any kind of settlement in the matter.
“Who is Yeddyurappa to announce that the Mahadayi dispute has been resolved? If the Goa Chief Minister agrees to release 7.5 tmc feet of water to Karnataka he has to first write a letter to the government and then inform the tribunal through a proper affidavit,” he argued, adding that he would be happy to participate in a meeting of Chief Ministers of the three states involved if the Prime Minister called one and arrive at an amicable settlement. He said he was also willing to have a one- to- one dialogue with the Goa Chief Minister on the issue.
“Instead of going about things in the proper way, Yeddyurappa has announced the Mahadayi dispute has been resolved at a Hubballi meeting. This only shows it is a political gimmick,” Mr Siddaramaiah charged.
The Chief Minister is, however, in a fix as if he delays holding talks with his Goa counterpart, he could come under fire from the BJP, but should he hold the dialogue and resolve the issue, he will have to share the “glory “ with the saffron party, which his party may not find tenable with elections looming....