Water politics over Mahadayi takes centre stage in Karnataka ahead of assembly elections 2018

Water Politics always played a crucial role during the time of elections; all the parties from all three states Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Goa got enough mileage with the water disputes. Many Parties lost Elections and many gained in the water politics. Water Dispute has always been a jinx to the people in Karnataka. Despite a shortage of drinking water in Cauvery during the summer, the government was forced to release water to Tami Nadu after the Supreme Court’s direction. Meanwhile, in North Karnataka people are protesting from the last 7 years to get their share of Drinking water from Mahadayi River from Goa.

Karnataka State BJP President BS Yeddyurappa is now trying to get mileage out of Mahadeyi water dispute ahead of 2018 State elections. After holding a meeting with BJP National President Amit Shah, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parikkar, party election in-charge to Karnataka Muralidhar Rao, Union Ministers Piyush Goyal and Prakash Javadekar in Delhi on Wednesday, Yeddyurappa said “We are satisfied with the discussion, the detailed discussions on Mahadayi and Kalasa-Banduri issue with Parrikar took place in a good environment”.

“He has heard our suggestions positively, tomorrow in Hubballi there is a big convention where over a lakh of people are gathering, by then they (Goa) are expected to come out with their clear stand on the 7.56 tmcft water that we are seeking for drinking purpose and how it can be done,” he said.

Yeddyurappa added that they would announce in the Hubballi public meeting in Presence of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath whatever information the Goa government shared with them.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said it is all a political gimmick ahead of 2018 elections. “Now the election is nearing, so they have met Amit Shah and discussed. Parikar has not spoken about it but Yeddyurappa has spoken about it. He is going to make an announcement, who is he to make an announcement?? If he makes a statement will it bind all three states? Who is disputing the issues, Goa State is disputing the water; they have to write the letter and say that they have agreed to solve the problem. Without Goa govt writing a letter how it can be solved. If Yeddyurappa makes an announcement for the sake of the election, will it have any kind of implications on the controversy? At least they have to file an affidavit in the tribunal.”

“Even tribunal asked us to solve the problem outside Court. I had written a letter to their (Goa) Govt, they didn’t reply to our letter and didn’t agree to solve the problem outside Court. They didn’t agree to chair a meeting between two states. Even the state BJP Leaders didn’t even try to convince the Goa BJP govt.” he added

However the same needs to be discussed bilaterally as suggested by the Hon‘ble Tribunal. It is needless to mention that the discussion shall be without prejudice to our rights and contentions before the Hon‘ble Tribunal, none of which are even touched by this letter.”

The Content of the letter doesn’t speak anything about the immediate solution to water dispute and ready only for a bilateral meeting between two states; Without Prejudice to Goa’s rights & Contentions before the tribunal.

Goa Forward Party which in coalition with BJP Govt in Goa, party president Vijay Sardesai tweeted that they will give up water Resource Ministry if the Goa Govt release water irrigation and they have no dispute in providing water for drinking purpose on humanitarian grounds.

In July 2016 Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal had rejected Karnataka’s plea to divert 7.56 TMC water from the Mahadayi basin to Malaprabha River and termed it as an “important decision for the bright future of Goa”.

Karnataka which has locked horns with Goa on the larger issue of sharing Mahadayi River water is seeking the release of 7.56 tmcft water for the Kalasa-Banduri Nala project, being undertaken to improve drinking water supply to the twin cities of Hubballi-Dharwad and districts of Belagavi and Gadag.