Kumaraswamy pitches Cauvery row solution after Kamal meet

Chief Minister Kumaraswamy and actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan jointly address the media outside the CM's official residence Krishna, in Bengaluru on Monday. (DH Photo/Ashwini Y S)

Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy today pitched for finding an amicable solution to the Cauvery water sharing dispute with Tamil Nadu after film star-turned-politician Kamal Hassan met him here and took up the issue.

Speaking to reporters along with Hassan, he underlined the need for a cordial relationship between the two neighbouring states and said that the farmers of Karnataka were as important as their Tamil Nadu counterparts.

"What Kamal Hassan has said about the Cauvery Management Board (authority) is that both the states should maintain cordial relations. Whatever problem is there, we have to equally share it. Karnataka farmers are as important as Tamil Nadu farmers. The issue should be sorted out cordially without giving a scope for any differences," Kumaraswamy said.

Hassan, who recently launched his political outfit 'Makkal Needhi Maiam', replied in the affirmative to a question whether he took up the issue of the Cauvery board (authority) and expressed satisfaction over the attitude of Kumaraswamy.

"Yes. It has been set up. We would like it to be expedited and this attitude (of Kumaraswamy) is what we are looking forward to. We are like brothers. I am happy there is the chief minister who is looking at it in the same manner," he said.

Noting that Cauvery had been there even when they were not born, the actor said, "It will be there, it should be there."

Acting on the Supreme Court's direction, the Centre had on Friday last constituted the CMA to address the dispute over sharing of river water among the riparian states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry.

The apex court had directed the government on February 16, to form the CMA within six weeks in a verdict that marginally increased Karnataka's share of Cauvery water, reduced the allocation for Tamil Nadu and sought to settle the protracted water dispute between the two southern states.

When Hassan was reminded that the governments in Tamil Nadu always tried to resolve the issue through court, he said courts were never a solution to the problem.

It was only the people-to-people contact that can resolve the issue.

"I see hope in the conversation I had with him (Kumaraswamy) and that's more important. The way forward will be found by people with a mindset to go forward," said Hassan.

To a question whether he would discuss with the Tamil Nadu government just as he spoke to Hassan, Kumaraswamy said he was prepared, provided his counterpart was ready for talks.

Kumaraswamy stressed that it was the duty of the two governments to resolve the disputes within the framework of the Constitution and the federal system.

Replying to a query whether the Tamil Nadu government's line of thinking was similar to his, Hassan said, "It doesn't matter. I come on behalf of people and he (Kumaraswamy) is also talking on behalf of the people."

When asked whether he wanted to be the bridge between the governments of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, Hassan said he can be "a squirrel, a bridge and even the slippers people walk on."

"I can be anything, sir. I am ready to be that because I am a new party. I am a child. I am willing to have no luggage, I have no egos. I have come here to just ask because the Kuruvai (paddy) crops are coming up and fortunately after his (Kumaraswamy) swearing-in, the catchment has seen some rain. So, you can afford to be kind," Hassan added.

Water for irrigation is traditionally released from the Mettur Dam in Tamil Nadu for Kuruvai on June 12 annually but seems unlikely this year as had been on several other occasions due to low storage.

Karnataka had, early last month, said it was not in a position to release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu.

Haasan's meeting with Kumaraswamy comes at a time when his contemporary Rajinikanth, who has announced his intentions to launch a political party, is facing a ban on his upcoming film "Kaala" in Karnataka over his remarks on Cauvery issue.

However, replying to a question, Haasan said the issue was not discussed in his meeting with the chief minister.

"Discussion was not about 'Kaala'. Not a word was spoken about it. There is a (film) chamber, business community who will take care of it," he added.

Upset with Rajinikanth's reported statement that whichever government comes to power in Karnataka should implement the Supreme Court order on Cauvery water sharing in toto, the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC) has announced it would not allow screening of 'Kaala', due for release on June 7, in the state. 

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Kumaraswamy pitches Cauvery row solution after Kamal meet

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