Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant is merely weeping crocodile tears by admitting regret about the waters of the Mahadayi river being already diverted by Karnataka, Goa Congress President Girish Chodankar said on Sunday.
Addressing a press conference in Panaji, Chodankar also said that the Congress, the main Opposition party in Goa, would stand "shoulder-to-shoulder" with the ruling BJP to "fight for justice" for Goa in its battle for its rightful share of water from the Mahadayi (Mhadei in Goa).
"By merely accepting that water in the Mahadayi river basin has reduced because Karnataka has already diverted the water, the Chief Minister is only weeping crocodile tears. We have been saying this for years already," Chodankar said.
Last week, Sawant, while ruling out an 'out of court' settlement over the dispute, had said that the water in the Mahadayi river basin had depleted because Karnataka had already begun diverting water into its territories.
Chodankar also said that former Defence Minister and ex-Chief Minister of Goa late Manohar Parrikar had already compromised Goa's position vis-à-vis the river water dispute.
Ahead of the 2018 state assembly elections in Karnataka, Parrikar, who was then chief minister of Goa, had written a letter to BJP's chief ministerial candidate BS Yediyurappa which said that Goa was willing to consider Karnataka's request for drawing drinking water from the Mahadayi river basin "on humanitarian grounds".
Chodankar said that the Congress was willing to back the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in Goa to put a collective front in order to protect Goa's interests in the inter-state river dispute.
"We are willing to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the BJP. We are willing to travel to Karnataka or host dharnas outside the prime minister's house or outside Parliament for the cause," Chodankar said.
Goa and Karnataka are battling out a two-decade-long dispute over the sharing of the Mahadayi river in the Supreme Court, after both parties expressed reservations about the award by the Mahadayi Water Dispute Tribunal in 2018.
Goa has also opposed the diversion of water from the Mahadayi river basin through the Kalasa-Banduri project claiming it would cause “ecological devastation” in Goa.
Last month, the Goa government had filed a contempt petition in the Supreme Court against Karnataka for illegal diversion of water from the Mahadayi river. Both the states have already filed special leave petitions in the Supreme Court against the award given by a central government tribunal which allowed Karnataka to divert 13.42 TMC water from the river basin.