Cautious stand may pay dividends for JD(S)

The JD(S) appears to have scored a few brownie points, following the State government’s decision to stop the release of water to Tamil Nadu from Monday.

The JD(S) has a strong foothold in the Cauvery basin region, comprising eight districts. A majority of its MLAs and all three MPs hail from the region. Despite intense pressure from the farmers to take an aggressive stand, the H D Deve Gowda-led JD(S) took an apolitical stand and concentrated more on resolving the crisis.

JD(S) sources said the party was aware that the Congress, its principal rival in the Cauvery basin region, would be blamed for the crisis as it was the prime minister who ordered the release of water. The prime minister is the chairperson of the Cauvery River Authority (CRA). This was evident when the Cauvery Hitarakshana Samithi members forced senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah to leave the protest venue in Mandya recently. But, the local JD(S) leaders were allowed to take part in the protest.

The sources said that since the ruling BJP in the State did not hold sway in the region, the JD(S) did not see any point in cornering the saffron party over the issue. It, therefore, decided not to take an aggressive stand when the things were working in its favour on their own, the sources said.

Gowda, therefore, took on the role of a guide on the issue. He gave suggestions to the State government on tackling the legal hurdle, following the Supreme Court direction to the State to comply with the CRA order to release water.

He also met the prime minister in Delhi and explained to him the ground situation in the region.  When the party legislators took a decision to resign over the issue, Gowda stopped them. Four of the party’s MLAs and the MP from Mandya had initially offered to resign over the issue.

The State party president H D Kumaraswamy had even convened the legislator party meeting to take a final decision on the resignation. But the meeting was cancelled following Gowda’s directions. The party, however, allowed its MLAs to take part in protests.

JD(S) spokesperson Y S V Datta said the party was interested in finding a solution to the crisis than taking political advantage of it.

“The party, therefore, stopped its legislators from tendering their resignations. If the State releases any more water, the JD(S) will resort to a aggressive protest,” he warned.

‘Stand your ground’

Meanwhile, Kumaraswamy has backed the government’s decision to stop the release of water to Tamil Nadu and demanded that the government should stand its ground in the matter. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a programme in Bangalore, Kumaraswamy said the Centre had tested Karnataka’s patience and that no more water should be released.

He said the neighbouring state was being “obstinate”, while the Centre had failed to respond to the woes of the farmers in Karnataka.

Kumaraswamy said his party would back the government completely and would “not indulge in politics” in this matter.

“The patience of the people of the State has been tested in the name of law. This cannot continue and the government should develop a strong resolve and not back down,” he said.

When asked whether the JD(S) legislators and MPs would resign en masse, Kumaraswamy said the party would convene the JD(S) legislature party meeting in a day or two, where it would take a call on the strategy.

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