‘It won’t affect Karnataka poll chances’
The BJP has dismissed suggestions that the Goa government’s submission to the Mahadayi Water Dispute Tribunal, rejecting the demands of the Karnataka government, was a setback to the party’s electoral campaign in Karnataka.
Citing an earlier letter by Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar promising drinking water to the northern districts of Karnataka from the Mahadayi river, the BJP had earlier sought to gain electorally, to demonstrate its political will to deliver water to the parched north Karnataka when successive Congress governments had failed to do so. At the core of this affected region lie 26 Assembly constituencies and water as an emotive issue had the potential to affect voting behaviour far further than that.
“This is not a setback. What was the submission of the Goa government to the tribunal? That it would not want to give water for 12 projects. Manohar Parrikar’s letter read out in Karnataka was about water for drinking purposes, 7.56 thousand million cubic feet [tmcft] required for drinking purposes. That stand still remains, the fight in the tribunal was about water distribution that is separate,” said BJP general secretary in charge of Karnataka, P. Muralidhar Rao.
He said the Congress in Goa had, first of all, taken an anti-Karnataka stance on the issue with former Congress president Sonia Gandhi writing a letter stating that no water would be shared with Karnataka. Even now, “no leader of Goa Congress has supported Manohar Parrikar’s humanitarian gesture of agreeing to share water for drinking for people living in the river basin,” he said. “It shows that it is only the BJP that wants to bring water to these areas, whereas the Congress is playing political games.”
To meet people
“We will be holding at least two public meetings in the core affected areas such as Nargund to explain to the people how the Congress government in Karnataka and the Opposition in Goa are working against distribution of drinking water from the Mahadayi. We will also be going village to village in all 26 Assembly constituencies in the affected zone to put forward this message,” he said.
Mr. Rao said that despite the high Hindutva rhetoric, the anti-incumbency factor against the Siddharamaiah government would be the cornerstone of the party’s campaign.