The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Vajpayee appeal runs into Jaya wall

Chennai, Sept. 29: The dispute over Cauvery waters between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu rose by several decibels today with DMK chief M. Karunanidhi taking pot-shots at his rival, Jayalalithaa.

The former chief minister criticised his successor for demanding the dissolution of the Cauvery River Authority, ignoring the pleas of the Prime Minister and Karnataka chief minister S.M. Krishna to sort out the issue across the table. Karunanidhi said Jayalalithaa was “standing on false prestige and shutting the doors for talks”.

Jayalalithaa had said the sudden placatory stand on the issue was hardly convincing. It was also pointless, the ADMK chief added, as the Supreme Court is hearing a petition filed by Tamil Nadu against Karnataka for neither implementing any directive of the court nor abiding by the river authority’s latest decision on releasing water.

She said it was time to “disband” the river authority and asserted that the state preferred to get “justice from the Supreme Court, which alone can come to the rescue of the farmers of Tamil Nadu, to overcome the crisis situation prevailing in the Cauvery delta areas of the state”.

Jayalalithaa said the authority was “powerless and ineffective” in implementing the Central Water Commission’s directive on the water to be released to Tamil Nadu in its “distress sharing formula” and the apex court’s order.

All that the Prime Minister has done is to send the Cauvery Monitoring Committee to study the situation in both the states, she said, and added that his suggestion to hold talks amounts to an admission of failure on his part as head of the river authority.

Stung by the rebuff to his NDA ally, Karunanidhi cautioned Jayalalithaa, saying “mouthing brave words would not be in the interest of the farmers”.

“When I was chief minister, I had been to Bangalore twice to hold talks with my Karnataka counterpart to get Cauvery waters and followed up with similar talks in Delhi in the past,” he told reporters after a meeting of the DMK’s administrative committee.

In a lengthy resolution, he strongly criticised Jayalalithaa, saying “derisively attacking” the Prime Minister and the Opposition in the Cauvery water issue has only pushed farmers to the depths of misery. The chief minister could have avoided this grave situation by not entering into “this unpleasant war of words with a neighbouring state”, he argued.

“While we must ensure our rights in getting the Cauvery waters, the two states cannot be fighting each other,” he emphasised.

The Cauvery water issue is yet another addition to DMK’s list of “anti-people measures” of the Jayalalithaa government in the last one-and-a-half-years, starting from police high-handedness in Karunanidhi’s midnight arrest last June to the latest hike in PDS rice price and the state surrendering local procurement of paddy from farmers to slash the food subsidy bill. Karunanidhi, “fully authorised” by his party to launch any form of agitation, is all set to raise a storm over them.

DMK chief to court arrest

Karunanidhi has warned that if the ADMK government did not take steps to throw open the memorial built by the previous DMK regime for the late Muslim League leader, Quaid-E-Milleth, at Chennai within the next 15 days, “I, as an MLA representing that area, will march to the venue and declare open the memorial myself.”

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