The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Krishna keeps up Cauvery politics

Bangalore, Oct. 27: The Karnataka government continued to play for political points on the Cauvery waters issue hours before the Supreme Court was to decide on the contempt case against it for not sharing water with Tamil Nadu.

After a day of marathon meetings that lasted nearly 12 hours, the Congress government headed by S.M. Krishna came up with a statement that left things as vague as they were at 11 in the morning, when the meeting started.

Information minister Thimme Gowda said: “Whatever submission the government has to make would be made in the Supreme Court.” And that was all the government would say.

Though it was evident that it was ready to release the water, the government refused to go public with the announcement. It was apparently clueless about how to contain agitating farmers who were opposed to the “release of even a single drop to Tamil Nadu”.

“Official sources” told PTI late tonight about 2,000 to 4,000 cusecs were being released from the Krishnaraja Sagar reservoir and it would start flowing from the Kabini dam tomorrow.

The government’s reluctance to open up has lent credence to charges that the Krishna government is playing to protect the political points it had scored with the farmers in the past two months by not releasing the water.

The impression is shared by an overwhelming section of political circles in the state, particularly the Opposition.

All major Opposition parties in Karnataka refused to share the government’s burden on the issue by boycotting the all-party meet convened by the chief minister. While the BJP and the Janata Dals (United and Secular) had announced the decision to boycott the meeting on Friday itself, the CPM, which had gone for the meeting, walked out when the venue was shifted from the Vidhan Soudha (Assembly) to the chief minister’s residence.

The all-party meet virtually became a Congress affair but that did not make it any shorter.

From an administrative point of view ,it has been repeatedly observed in the past two days that Karnataka has no other go but to release water , particularly in the

context of the stinging remarks that the Supreme Court had made against it during the hearing of the contempt case on Thursday. The Supreme Court had pointed

out that the Karnataka government's action of not releasing water to Tamil Nadu despite repeated orders from it amounted to a major case of institutional collapse in

the history of Indian democracy. This meant that the government and particularly Chief Minister Krishna were in for an adverse verdict when the final

pronouncement was to be made on Monday.

But Sunday's moves from the government made it clear that the Congress in Karnataka was more worried about the issue's political impact than with the questions

addressed by the Apex Court. It was getting ready for yet another long drawn political battle playing on judicial nitty gritty and the passion of Karnataka farmers for


Undoubtedly, this game is bound to intensify the parochial and sectarian politics that have held sway over the state in the past two months. And this , most certainly ,

is bound to lead to violent incidents too in the state, particularly in the Mandya - Mysore belt where farmers' agitations over the release of water to Tamil Nadu have

been the strongest.

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