Prakash Raj Wades Into Mahadayi River Row, Says 'We Kannadigas Have Right to the Water'
As protests erupt in Karnataka over the Mahadayi river dispute, Prakash Raj said Kannadigas have a right to the river water.
Bengaluru: Kannadigas have a right to the Mahadayi river water, actor Prakash Raj said on Thursday as Karnataka suffered a state-wide bandh by pro-Kannada outfits over the water sharing row with Goa.
“First of all, all political parties must stop politicising it. We Kannadigas have a right over the water that flows past Kalasa Banduri. In a democracy, once a political party comes to power, it is no longer just a political party, but a party that is duty-bound to work for the people it represents,” Raj said.
“Any party that keeps saying — ‘our party is ruling at the Centre, so we will take the water through political means’ — is telling a blatant lie. This is a pro-people agitation. Please don’t do politics over people's fundamental rights.”
“My request to all parties — please leave your political ideologies aside, put aside these attempts to beg for votes. We must come together and stand together to put pressure for our rightful share in the water. Let's agitate and ensure our rights are given to us,” the actor said.
Opposition BJP has termed the bandh as "politically motivated" and alleged the ruling Congress' role, saying it was synchronised with dates when BJP national President Amit Shah in Mysuru to address a party rally.
Similarly, a Bengaluru bandh has been called on February 4 also, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting the poll-bound state to take part in 'Nav Karnataka Parivartan Yatra' of the state unit in the city.
Karnataka and Goa, the riparian states of the Mahadayi (known as Mandovi in Goa), have been locked in a bitter battle over the sharing of the water of the river, which originates in Belagavi in Karnataka. The matter is pending before the Mahadayi Water Dispute Tribunal.
Goa's water resources minister Vinod Palyekar recently said the state government will file a contempt petition next month before the Supreme Court and the tribunal against Karnataka for allegedly resuming work on a canal at Kankumbi "in violation" of the apex court order.
Last year, the SC had ordered Karnataka to stop the work on the construction of the canal, which was aimed at diverting water from the Mahadayi tributary.
Goa had claimed that it has photographic evidence to support its claim that the work has begun. However, Karnataka had rejected the claim saying there was no such activity.
The Goa government last week told the tribunal that the Mahadayi river water demand by neighbouring Karnataka is actually for irrigating its sugarcane crop areas. The tribunal is expected to hear the final arguments in the matter next month.