Bengaluru: After an all-party meeting over the Cauvery issue in Bengaluru on Wednesday evening, Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah said that the state cabinet has decided to defer the releasing of water to Tamil Nadu.
He said that the state government will write to the governor to convene a session of both houses on 23 September.
The Supreme Court had on Tuesday directed Karnataka to release 6000 cusecs of water per day from 21 to 27 September—double the quantity directed by the Cauvery Supervisory Committee the previous day.
On Wednesday, Karnataka Bharatiya Janata Party president B.S. Yeddyurappa welcomed the state government’s late-night decision, maintaining that the party had been from the beginning insisting on convening the legislature session and not to release water. “Though belated, it is a welcome decision," he said. “We will support and cooperate with the government in the legislature session."
Janata Dal (Secular) leader and former chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy said after the all-party meeting that “not even a single drop of water should be released to Tamil Nadu for any reason whatsoever".
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The Karnataka government had earlier been urged by a string of senior political figures, including former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda, to call an emergency session of the state assembly in order to decide the next course of action in the ongoing Cauvery water crisis.
Senior political leaders attending the all-party meeting on Wednesday asked the Siddaramaiah-led government to convene the session so that the state could also take steps to counter the Supreme Court’s latest order on sharing the Cauvery waters with Tamil Nadu.
Soon after the meeting, senior ministers had gone into a cabinet meeting.
Karnataka, facing its second consecutive drought year, has repeatedly appealed before the apex court to reconsider its direction to share the Cauvery waters with its neighbour, citing an acute shortage of drinking water.
The Supreme Court had also directed the creation of a Cauvery Management Board (CMB), which would mean that the central government would be in charge of all the dams in the Cauvery basin with the state government having no access.
The apex court’s rulings over the dispute have sparked continuous protests in Karnataka over the past two weeks, including arson and violence on 12 September.
The all-party meeting was attended by Deve Gowda, former Union ministers Veerappa Moily and Mallikarjun Kharge, JD(S) leader Kumaraswamy and other senior leaders of various political parties.
The opposition BJP boycotted the meeting.
Terming it “meaningless and a diversionary tactic", the state BJP issued a statement saying that it “did not want to be a culpable partner of Congress government’s sin in omission and commission".
The second largest opposition party, JD(S), has urged all legislators in the state to resign and “create a constitutional crisis" so that the judiciary is unable to overrule the legislature.
C.S. Puttaraju, the party’s MP from Mandya constituency, submitted his resignation on Tuesday.
A string of rulings by the apex court since 5 September have been met with protests in Karnataka. Every revision of the court’s order has resulted in Karnataka releasing more water to Tamil Nadu, which is demanding the water to save its samba crop.
PTI contributed to this story.