Cornered over Cauvery, Congress tries to turn tables on State govt

CM failed to apprise River Authority of ground reality

The Congress party, which is facing uncomfortable questions regarding the prime minister’s directive to the State to release water to Tamil Nadu, has begun finding fault with the BJP government for the present crisis.

The BJP and JD(S) had asked the Congress to request its MPs, many of whom are ministers in the UPA Cabinet, to speak to the prime minister about the water crisis the Cauvery basin is facing.

On Sunday, the Congress leaders were busy in Bangalore giving statements and finding fault with the government for not ‘handling’ the river water sharing issue properly. It began with Congress legislature party leader Siddaramaiah, who said Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar should resign as he had ‘failed’ to protect the interests of farmers.

Siddaramaiah, who hails from Mysore, said the government failed to effectively present the crisis the State was facing before the Supreme Court as well as the Cauvery River Authority (CRA) headed by the prime minister. The State’s submission to the court that it would release 9,000 cusecs daily went against the interests of the State.

The live storage in the Cauvery basin was 69 tmc ft on Saturday. The State should have explained to the authorities concerned that it required an additional 85 tmc ft to meet its needs. The chief minister should not have staged a walk out from the CRA meeting, he said.

He said the Congress had no role in the release of water to Tamil Nadu. The Congress would join the agitating farmers if required, he said.

KPCC president G Parameshwara criticised the BJP government for releasing water. “The government had been maintaining that it will not release water and we had extended all co-operation. But, it suddenly changed its stand and released water,” he said.
The government should have convened an all-party meeting, before finalising its stand on the issue, he said.

Former minister H K Patil, addressing the media, said the government failed to convey to its lawyers as to how the case should be presented before the court, taking the ground reality into consideration.

Referring to a junior advocate appearing for the State in the Supreme Court, instead of senior counsel Nariman, Patil said, “When the legal battle has touched its climax, you should know whether to should send Arjuna (Fali S Nariman) or Bhima ( Mohan Katharki) to fight for you.

If you send Abhimanyu (the junior advocate), how can you fight the battle? If you fail to convince your own General, then how can you convince the prime minister and the Supreme Court? Not presenting the case properly before the court is the biggest blunder committed by the State,” Patil said.

“The government must have prepared itself well, before going to the CRA. It should not have boycotted the CRA meeting. It was not a city corporation meeting. It should have appealed to the CRA to send an experts’ team to assess the situation,” he said.

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