The BJP on Wednesday held Chief Minister Siddaramaiah responsible for “misleading” the people by stating that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had refused to intervene in the Kalasa Banduri issue.
This was said at a joint press conference by Pralhad Joshi, Jagadish Shettar and Basavaraj Bommai, in Bengaluru.
Siddaramaiah’s statement had instigated and provoked protesters, who were agitating peacefully demanding the implementation of the project, to resort to violence, they said. The BJP leaders said Modi had been positive in his response to the all-party delegation led by Siddaramaiah on Monday and had stated that he was keen to find an early solution to the Kalasa-Banduri issue.
The project seeks to improve drinking water supply to the districts of Belagavi, Dharwad and Gadag. It involves building barrages across Kalasa and Banduri, two tributaries of the Mahadayi river to divert 7.56 tmc to the Malaprabha river. However, Maharashtra and Goa have raised objections resulting the project not taking off. Protests demanding implementation of the project had turned violent in Navalgund and Nargund on Tuesday. Hubbali-Dharwad observed a bandh on Wednesday.
“The chief minister has played politics and misled the people. The prime minister had only said instead of having a meeting with chief ministers, the Congress leaders could first convince their counterparts in Goa and Maharashtra to allow Karnataka to go ahead with the project,” Joshi said and pointed out that several meetings with the chief ministers of the riparian states had failed previously.
Shettar said while the issue was before the tribunal, it was necessary to go for an out-of-the court settlement as the tribunal was yet to pronounce its award even after five years of its constitution. He said the JD(S) had no moral right to talk about Kalasa-Banduri as the then chief minister H D Kumaraswamy had even refused to lay the foundation stone for the project in 2006.
Meanwhile, Home Minister K J George has said law and order was under control in Belagavi, Dharwad and Gadag districts.
The State government is committed to implementing the project, as per the demand of the farmers. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been requested to intervene and resolve the issue, he added.