Bengaluru: Amid a war of words between the ruling Congress and the Opposition BJP and JD(S) over the current release of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu even as Karnataka is experiencing a poor monsoon, the All-Party Meeting convened by the Government to discuss all Inter-State water disputes pertaining to Karnataka, began at Vidhana Soudha in the State Capital this morning.
Chief Minister Siddharamaiah is chairing the meeting, which has assumed a lot of significance in the wake of TN’s demand for release of more Cauvery water to support its vast expanse of Kuruvai paddy crop.
The Government had earlier extended the invitation to former CMs of the Opposition BJP — B.S. Yediyurappa, Basavaraj Bommai and D.V. Sadananda Gowda, JD(S) supremo and former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda , JD(S) Legislature Party leader and former CM H.D. Kumaraswamy and several other leaders from the Opposition camp for the meeting.
Deputy Chief Minister and Water Resources Minister D.K. Shivakumar, who spoke after welcoming the Opposition leaders and all other participants, said that Karnataka Government would not compromise for any reason on the protection of its interests. Highlighting the Cauvery water dispute with neighbouring TN which has been raging for years, Shivakumar said the State will continue to wage legal battle on its rights over Cauvery water and sought co-operation of the Opposition in this regard.
Leaders across the political spectrum are also deliberating and discussing on the stand to be taken by Karnataka in the sharing of Mahadayi and Krishna waters with the neighbouring Riparian States as well as other Inter-State water disputes. During the meeting, the Opposition parties, apart from coming up with their views and suggestions, are likely to back whatever decision the Government takes for protecting the State’s interests in Inter-State water rows.
Cabinet Ministers H.K. Patil, N. Chaluvarayaswamy, Dr. G. Parameshwara, K.J. George and Krishna Byregowda, MPs Sumalatha Ambarish, P.C. Mohan, Tejasvi Surya, D.K. Suresh and Jaggesh, Karnataka Government’s Special Representative in Delhi T.B. Jayachandra, State Chief Secretary Vandita Sharma, Chief Minister’s Additional Chief Secretary Dr. Rajneesh Goel, Water Resources Department Additional Chief Secretary Rakesh Singh, State Advocate General Shashikiran Shetty, Senior Counsel Mohan Kataraki and several Legislators, top officials and legal luminaries are attending the meeting, which was on when we went to the press.