Water has become a keyword for the BJP in Karnataka. As the party prepares to face the electorate ahead of the Karnataka Assembly Elections 2018, raising the water issue becomes exceptionally necessary at least in Northern Karnataka region.
B. S. Yeddyurappa, the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate said to those protesting during the Mahadayi row that he would provide the solution and give them the good news that they have been looking for.
The Karnataka BJP has been hoping to find a solution with the BJP led government in Goa. The state leaders have been in talks with the central command hoping to prevail over the government in Goa.
While Manohar Parrikar, the Chief Minister of Goa has said that he would offer an amicable solution, members of his coalition proved to be a stumbling block.
Yeddyurappa has his way:
Following a meeting with the Karnataka BJP leaders and Parrikar which took place at the residence of Amit Shah, an announcement was made that Goa would share water with Karnataka for drinking water purposes. However, Vinod Palyekar of the Goa Forward Party said that their stand remains unchanged on Mahadayi and they would protect every drop of water.
This led to a series of meetings in Goa following which Parrikar wrote to Yeddyurappa. He wrote, “you are aware of the matter pending before the Mahadayi Water Dispute Tribunal. Although the issue is one of the issues pending before the tribunal, in principle the state of Goa would not oppose the reasonable and justified quantum of water meant to be utilized for drinking.”
“Government of Goa is willing to consider the request to work out an amicable settlement strictly restricted to drinking water only to drought-prone areas. It is needless to mention that the discussion shall be without prejudice to our rights and contentions before the tribunal, none of which are even touched by this letter,” Parrikar also wrote.
Why is water important for the BJP:
The Mahadayi issue is an extremely sensitive one. The people of North Karnataka are most affected with this issue. They would vote for anyone who would provide a resolution to the drinking water crisis.
The BJP was quick to pick up on the issue and ensure that there was some solution to the issue ahead of the elections. At stake are the 50 assembly seats in North Karnataka. North Karnataka has been a traditional stronghold for the BJP. If they want to return to power, then they would need to win big in this region and by raking up the Mahadayi row and ensuring that they managed to convince Goa, a large part of the problem may have been sorted out for the party.
What is the Mahadayi row:
The Mahadayi river flows into Goa as Mandovi. It originates from Belagavi district and flows 35 kilometers through Karnataka and 52 kilometers through Goa.
The river is a lifeline for the drought affected districts of North Karnataka and also a main river for Goa too. Goa had challenged the decision by Karnataka to construct seven dams on the river aimed at diverting the water. The tribunal last year had rejected an interim plea by Karnataka to allow the diversion of 7,56 thousand million cubic (tmc) feet to meet the drinking water requirements in fourth districts of North Karnataka.