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3-min read

Yeddyurappa's BJP Sucked Into a Goan Quagmire Over Mahadayi Water to North Karnataka

A week after state BJP triumphantly declared that it has found a solution to Mahadayi river water dispute between Goa and Karnataka, the situation has gone from bad to worse embarrassing the entire party.

D P Satish | CNN-News18dp_satish

Updated:January 11, 2018, 10:42 AM IST
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Yeddyurappa's BJP Sucked Into a Goan Quagmire Over Mahadayi Water to North Karnataka
File photo of Karnataka BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa.
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Bengaluru: It seems Karnataka BJP is being sucked into a Goan quagmire ahead of Assembly elections due in April/May 2018.

A week after state BJP triumphantly declared that it has found a solution to Mahadayi river water dispute between Goa and Karnataka, the situation has gone from bad to worse embarrassing the entire party.

Last week, the BJP national president Amit Shah had facilitated a meeting between Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar and Karnataka BJP president BS Yeddyurappa in New Delhi to find a temporary solution to the complex issue. After the meeting a beaming Yeddyurappa had declared that Goa had agreed to resolve the issue and release 7 TMC Ft of water for drinking purposes. He had also attacked chief minister Siddaramaiah for not doing enough to engage Goa in talks to find an amicable solution.

Breaking protocol, a day later Goa CM wrote a letter to Yeddyurappa promising to release the water for drinking purposes in the parched Mumbai–Karnataka region. The ruling Congress attacked Goa CM Parrikar for going against established norms for electoral gains. An angry CM Siddaramaiah told the media that he was keeping quiet just because interest of the state was much more important to him than personal prestige.

However, he said that Goa CM should have addressed the letter to him, not to Yeddyurappa.

The meeting between Parrikar and Yeddyurappa caused tremors in Goa. Parrikar’s alliance partner Goa Forward Party led by Vijay Sardesai openly opposed any talks with Karnataka saying that dispute should be resolved only by the Tribunal. According to BJP insiders, it also threatened to pull out of the BJP government in Goa on the same issue. A cornered Parrikar changed his tune to save his government and said that tribunal was the most appropriate body to end the dispute.

An embarrassed Karnataka BJP started scrambling for cover. In the meantime a few hundred farmers from Mumbai–Karnataka region rushed to Bengaluru and pitched a tent in front the state BJP office demanding that Yeddyurappa must keep his words by getting Mahadayi water to Karnataka.

The Congress immediately seized this opportunity and extended its support to farmers’ sit-in protest outside the BJP state office.

Several top Congress leaders, including Dinesh Gundurao and M B Patil, met them giving moral support.

Yeddyurappa, who is touring the state, rushed to Bengaluru to pacify the agitating farmers on Tuesday. It led to heated exchange of words between him and the famers causing more embarrassment to his party.

The people from Mumbai–Karnataka region have been demanding that they must get water from Mahadayi river which originates in Karnataka and joins the Arabian sea after flowing through Goa. The same river is known as Mandovi in Goa. Goa has been opposing any deal with Karnataka saying that it can’t spare Mahadayi water.

The Mumbai-Karnataka region with 56 Assembly seats is a stronghold of the BJP and Lingayats are the dominant caste here. Any mishandling of the crisis may go against the saffron party in the ensuing elections.

Speaking to News18, Yeddyurappa said: “Congress is responsible for this. Siddaramaiah, Rahul Gandhi and Goa Congress leaders are adding fuel to the fire. They are creating the trouble to defame BJP. They don’t want any solution to the crisis”.

The Kannada film fraternity is divided over whether to support the agitation or not. Shivarajkumar, famous Kannada film star and son of thespian Rajkumar, has refused to back any agitation taking place outside a political party office in an election year.

Meanwhile, the agitating farmers have threatened the BJP that they will not go back until and unless they get the promised water from Mahadayi river.

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| Edited by: Ashutosh Tripathi
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