Cauvery issue: Tamil Nadu CM, deputy CM begin hunger strike
Tamil Nadu CM K Palaniswami and deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam participated in the strike in Chennai, while in districts, the protest was led by other ministers and party leaders.india Updated: Apr 03, 2018 19:10 IST
Tamil Nadu’s ruling AIADMK leaders, including chief minister Edapaddi Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam, launched a hunger strike in Chennai on Tuesday — giving a boost to the agitation against the Centre’s delay in setting up a Cauvery Management Board (CMB).
The move came even as state governor Banwarilal Purohit called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi over the issue, which concerns sharing of Cauvery river water between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
The Supreme Court had, in its February 16 verdict, asked the Centre to set up the CMB within six weeks. However, the deadline lapsed on March 29, with the Centre failing to set up the board and seeking three months’ time to do so.
The Tamil Nadu government had moved a contempt petition against the Centre in the apex court on Monday.
Tamil Nadu political leaders have alleged that the BJP is acting in favour of poll-bound Karnataka, which is opposed to the CMB.
Meanwhile, the issue is playing out along predicted lines in Tamil Nadu, with the AIADMK accusing the opposition DMK of “doing little” to resolve the issue when it was part of the UPA government. “It was only after (late AIADMK supremo) Jayalalithaa became the chief minister that the final order of the Cauvery tribunal was notified. The DMK has betrayed the people of Tamil Nadu, and has no right to speak on the issue,” Palanisamy said, adding that he had been trying to get the Centre to form the CMB ever since the Supreme Court issued its verdict.
Several parties had earlier launched protests over the issue. AIADMK ministers and leaders joined in with their day-long hunger strike on Tuesday, after taking permission from police. The participation of the chief minister and his deputy, however, came as a surprise.
“The hunger strike is to condemn the central government for not forming the CMB,” an AIADMK statement read.
The DMK held protests across the state — blocking trains and roads — through the day. Traders and shops downed shutters, and police took protesters into custody in Chennai and other places.
The DMK has also called for a Tamil Nadu bandh on April 5, and plans to raise black flags when the Prime Minister visits the state to participate in an exposition later in the month.
Reports of protests came in from several cities,including Madurai, Tiruchirapalli, Coimbatore, Erode, Salem and Tiruvarur, where farmers were also sitting on dharna.
(With agencies inputs)