Former Karnataka Chief Ministers -- B S Yediyurappa and Basavaraj Bommai of the BJP and H D Kumaraswamy of the JD(S) -- will not be attending the "special emergency meeting" called by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Wednesday to discuss the issue of releasing Cauvery river water to neighbouring Tamil Nadu.
The meeting was convened at short notice following the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC) on Tuesday recommending that Karnataka release 5,000 cusecs of water every day for the next 15 days to Tamil Nadu.
Bommai and Kumaraswamy said they are preoccupied with prior commitments but made their stand clear on the issue.
The Chief Minister's office said late on Tuesday, Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar, ministers of the Cauvery basin region, former chief ministers of all parties, senior ministers of the state cabinet, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha members were invited to participate in the emergency meeting.
While Yediyurappa is travelling to attend the BJP central election committee meeting in the national capital, Bommai too said, he will not be able to participate in the meeting as he is visiting his home constituency of Shiggavi in Haveri district to take part in an event.
"The state government invited late last night for a meeting to discuss the Cauvery dispute. However, I am not able to attend the meeting called by the government, as I have to participate in the pre-scheduled event in my constituency," Bommai said on 'X'.
"Our stand on the Cauvery issue is clear. The state government should not release water to Tamil Nadu for any reason. The state government should make the Supreme Court and the CWMA (Cauvery Water Management Authority) understand the ground situation in the state," he added.
Kumaraswamy too said he will not be able to attend the meeting as he has to attend a pre-scheduled event in Hassan.
Questioning the recommendation or direction to Karnataka to release water to Tamil Nadu, he urged the state government to reject it.
Terming CWRC's recommendation as "unjust", he said because of water scarcity in the Cauvery basin area, Karnataka government asked farmers not to cultivate crops; there will also be shortage of drinking water in the days to come.
Further, hitting out at the state government for releasing water to TN all these days, despite Karnataka facing scarcity, Kumaraswamy said, "It doesn't have the basic understanding or guts or courage to protect the interest of the state...they don't have commitment towards the people. What will they do for drinking water in the days to come, from where will they provide it to the people of Bengaluru?" Also, pointing out that there is no distress formula on water sharing till now, he expressed his displeasure about Cauvery bodies, and alleged that people of Karnataka are repeatedly being subject to oppression.
Following the CWRC's recommendation, Siddaramaiah on Tuesday held an emergency meeting regarding the next steps to be taken. Shivakumar, several senior ministers and officials including Chief Secretary Vandita Sharma, and Chief Minister's Legal Advisor A S Ponnanna participated in the meeting.
Shivakumar made it clear that Karnataka is in no position to release Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu, as it doesn't have enough water storage, due to lack of adequate rainfall in the river basin region.
He had said that the matter is next going to come before the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA), in a couple of days, and Karnataka will vehemently put forward its stand before it.
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