The Water issue…in the Karnataka elections

The twin water disputes namely the Cauvery dispute with Tamil Nadu and the Mahadayi dispute with Goa appear to be another bug that is hurting BJP since it has some responsibilities as the Union Government. When Jayalalitha was alive, she was able to manipulate the Supreme Court judgements in her favour by even manipulating the Karnataka Chief ministers and hence the blame was always on the Supreme Court.

However now there is a perception in Tamil Nadu that the Center is responsible for action and will bring pressure of its own.

Unfortunately there is no solution that would be acceptable to both States and hence whatever decision Mr Modi wants to take he has to be ready to lose either Karnataka voters or the Tamil Nadu voters. Presently Karnataka election is in the radar and hence TN has to wait for its turn to get some favours.

While Mr Modi may remain silent for the time being on this issue, he should take some steps to make the South Karnataka people comfortable that the injustice committed by the British and blindly supported by the Supreme Court cannot be the basis to deny water to the Cauvery basin in Karnataka. There is no way people in Karnataka will see water flowing in front of their eyes to TN where as TN continues to ignore its responsibilities of coming out of the British protection and develop its own resources. Mr Subramanya Swamy is pragmatic in some of these aspects and Mr Modi should listen to his advice.

Similarly the Mahadyi issue is politically sensitive between Karnataka and Goa as any decision would be interpreted as against one of the States and Center has to tread its path carefully.

However, Mr Modi is capable of finding acceptable solutions to both and if he is able to provide some hint to such a possibility, there could be a huge swing of farmer’s votes in favour of BJP.

The river water issue therefore appears to be also an opportunity for BJP to be converted into a potential weapon to win this election.

I hope Mr Modi would be properly advised in this regard. I am not however confidant that BJP would be able to harness the potential of this issue and it may be satisfied by remaining neutral even if it may help Congress in the process.


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