Days after they announced an official alliance, the BJP and JD(S) came together to take on the Congress government in Karnataka in their first show of unity as alliance partners.
The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) parties accused the Congress of going soft on Tamil Nadu since MK Stalin’s DMK was an alliance partner in the Opposition’s INDIA bloc.
The BJP and JD(S) on Wednesday, 27 September, staged a joint protest in Bengaluru against the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government for releasing Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu.
Both parties demanded the government immediately halt supply of water to the neighbouring state.
Joint might of BJP-JDS to take on Congress
Former chief ministers BS Yediyurappa, DV Sadananda Gowda, and HD Kumaraswamy, former ministers Govind Karjol, Dr CN Ashwath Narayan, and Munirathna Naidu, BJP state president Nalin Kumar Kateel, vice president and MLA BY Vijayendra, JD(S) MLC TA Sharavana, and other leaders attended the protest demonstration in front of the Mahatma Gandhi statue at the Vidhana Soudha.
Yediyurappa termed the Siddaramaiah government an agent of the DMK government in Tamil Nadu, even as the protesters raised slogans against the ruling dispensation.
The leaders also criticised the state government for failing to file a petition against the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC) and Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA)’s orders before the Supreme Court.
They warned of intensifying the protest against the government if it failed to immediately stop the release of water to Tamil Nadu. They urged the government to protect the interests of farmers and the people of Karnataka.
The JD(S) formally joined the BJP-led NDA on 22 September.
Congress is DMK agent: BSY
Condemning the state government’s decision to comply with the Supreme Court order, BJP parliamentary board member Yediyurappa called the Congress government as a “DMK agent”.
“The BJP and JD(S) will raise their voice for the welfare of farmers and people of the state. As per the Supreme Court order, Tamil Nadu has to irrigate around 1.4 lakh hectares in the Cauvery river basin. Instead, it is irrigating over four lakh hectares,” he said while addressing the protesters.
“The monsoon has ended in Karnataka but it has begun in the neighbouring state. Even in this dire situation, (Deputy Chief Minister DK) Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah are ignoring the welfare of the people and acting like Tamil Nadu’s agents,” he alleged.
“The government must understand the ground reality and immediately stop the release of water to Tamil Nadu. If the government fails to work towards the interests of the state, we will launch a massive protest,” the former chief minister warned.
ಕಾವೇರಿ ನೀರಿನ ವಿಚಾರದಲ್ಲಿ ರಾಜ್ಯ ಕಾಂಗ್ರೆಸ್ ಸರ್ಕಾರದ ಅಸಮರ್ಥತೆಯ ವಿರುದ್ಧ ಇಂದು ಬೆಂಗಳೂರಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಬಿಜೆಪಿ- @JanataDal_S ಪಕ್ಷದ ವತಿಯಿಂದ ಜಂಟಿ ಪ್ರತಿಭಟನೆ ನಡೆಯಿತು.
— BJP Karnataka (@BJP4Karnataka) September 27, 2023
BJP leaders mocked Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar for releasing water to Tamil Nadu instead of protecting the interests of the state.
Sadananda Gowda criticised Shivakumar for stating that he was happy with the CWRC recommendations. “Sadly, the CWRC has recommended that Karnataka release 3,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu for another 15 days,” he said.
“Being the deputy chief minister, he should have expressed disappointment over the CWRC recommendations. Instead, he is stating that Tamil Nadu had demanded 12,500 cusecs but the committee ordered to release only 3,000 cusecs and he is happy with this order. I condemn this statement. It is cheap politics,” he alleged.
“He should have said that the government is not in a position to release even a single drop of water, but he is working to please the DMK government,” Gowda said while condemning the government for releasing water to Tamil Nadu.
“The state government has failed to consider the suggestions Karnataka MPs had made at the all-party meeting in Delhi. They frequently claimed that Karnataka has a good case. Then, why are the judgements against Karnataka,” he asked.
The former chief minister also charged that there was a lack of communication and coordination between the government and the state’s legal team.
Govt is irresponsible: Kumaraswamy
JD(S) legislature party leader Kumaraswamy criticised the Siddaramaiah government for its inaction on the ongoing Cauvery river row with Tamil Nadu.
“The state government has failed to protect Cauvery water from the beginning. Due to the irresponsible steps taken by the government, the farmers have come to the streets against the government,” he said.
“The BJP and JD(S) are jointly protesting not to politicise this issue. The chief minister and the Congress are trying to politicise this protest. The government’s bad decisions have put us in a bad state,” he further stated.
“Even now the government is not realising its mistake. On 10 August, a CWRC meeting was held over Cauvery row. Tamil Nadu filed a petition before the apex court within two to three days of the CWRC recommendations. However, the state government did not bother to file a counter petition,” he alleged.
ಕಾವೇರಿ ವಿಚಾರದಲ್ಲಿ ರಾಜ್ಯ @INCKarnataka ಸರ್ಕಾರದ ವೈಫಲ್ಯವನ್ನು ಖಂಡಿಸಿ ಮಾಜಿ ಮುಖ್ಯಮಂತ್ರಿಗಳಾದ ಶ್ರೀ @hd_kumaraswamy ಅವರು ಹಾಗೂ @BSYBJP ಅವರ ನೇತೃತ್ವದಲ್ಲಿ ವಿಧಾನಸೌಧದ ಗಾಂಧಿ ಪ್ರತಿಮೆ ಬಳಿ ಪ್ರತಿಭಟನೆ ನಡೆಸಲಾಯಿತು. pic.twitter.com/MonJe0sTkX
— Janata Dal Secular (@JanataDal_S) September 27, 2023
“The government convened an all-party meeting only when we put pressure on the government. The government did not take our suggestions seriously. We insisted that the government must not comply with the CWRC order, but wait for the apex court’s order,” Kumaraswamy said.
“If we stop releasing water for about a fortnight then the reservoirs in the Cauvery river basin might get some relief. This was the suggestion we gave to the government. It neither heeded our words nor expedited the process to file the petition before the apex court,” he added.
Taking a dig at Shivakumar, he said the minister for water resources was not having enough time to do business in Bengaluru.
“The CWRC meeting was scheduled for Tuesday. The water resources minister made a statement that we have an inflow of around 10,000 cusecs. Does any responsible water resource minister make such a statement,” he sought to know.
Kumaraswamy also condemned Shivakumar’s statement that he was happy with the CWRC order.
‘TN has sufficient water’
“Tamil Nadu has sufficient water in the Mettur reservoir. The state government claimed that in the last two days the inflow has increased up to 7,000 cusecs in the Biligundlu area due to rain and it is likely to come down to 3,000 to 4,000 cusecs in the next two days,” he said.
“A state legal team member claimed that Tamil Nadu has been allocated 30 tmc of water for irrigation but they are utilising around 60 tmc. The tribunal has permitted them to irrigate only 1.85 lakh hectares but they are irrigating over 5 to 6 lakh acres,” Kumaraswamy claimed.
“The farmers in Tamil Nadu can get two to three crops but we are finding it difficult to even grow a single crop. The state government is claiming that crops in around 40 lakh hectares have been affected due to drought,” the former chief minister said.
“More than ₹30,000 crore is required to sow over 40 lakh hectares. The state cabinet ministers are yet to hold talks with the Union government on the drought situation. Shivakumar’s statements are likely to affect the prospects of Karnataka,” he further said.
Kumaraswamy urged the state government to appeal to the Supreme Court and CWRC committee to visit the Cauvery river basin to understand the ground reality.
Government to move Supreme Court
Meanwhile, Siddaramaiah has said that the state government would challenge the CWRC recommendations in the Supreme Court.
On Tuesday, the CWRC recommended that Karnataka ensure 3,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu from 28 September till 15 October.
Farmers, Opposition leaders, and experts have opposed and condemned the CWRC recommendations.
“I have discussed with the state legal team the CWRC recommendations. They have insisted on challenging the CWRC order before the Supreme Court,” the chief minister told reporters in Chamarajanagar.
“We don’t have sufficient water to supply Tamil Nadu. We are challenging the orders of the regulatory committee before the apex court,” he stated.
According to the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC)s, the four reservoirs in the Cauvery river basin were left with “only 59.43 tmc of water against the maximum storage of 114.57 tmc. Krishnaraja Sagar reservoir has only 42 percent of water”.
“The inflow stands at 7,451 cusecs and outflow at 5,691 cusecs. The water storage was recorded at 20.55 tmc against the maximum capacity of 49.45 tmc. Harangi, Hemavathi, and Kabini are left with 82, 50, and 69 percent of water, respectively,” a KSNDMC report said.