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Cauvery verdict: In poll-bound Karnataka, it is advantage Siddaramaiah

The Supreme Court verdict awarded Karnataka an additional 4.75 tmc of water from the Cauvery river, a decision that chief minister Siddaramaiah said would give the state relief.

india Updated: Feb 16, 2018 22:38 IST
Vikram Gopal
Vikram Gopal
Hindustan Times, Bengaluru
Cauvery verdict,Supreme Court,Cauvery verdict 2018
Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah is looking to come back for another term when the state goes to polls later this year. He however faces a TaBJP obstacle in winning another successive term.(Arijit Sen/HT File Photo)

For Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah, the Cauvery verdict could not have come at a better time.

The Supreme Court’s decision to increase the state’s share of water, and provide special relief to capital Bengaluru is a relief for the senior Congress leader and might just boost his prospects in assembly elections later this year.

“The judgment has partly allowed our appeal and has also taken the groundwater availability in the delta region of Tamil Nadu into consideration. It has also changed the tribunal decision that only one-third of Bengaluru, which comes under the Cauvery basin, should get water,” Siddaramaiah said.

Karnataka irrigation minister MB Patil welcomed the decision but said the state’s demands had only partially been met. “The additional 4.75 thousand million cubic feet of water for Bengaluru will not suffice and we will consult with the legal team on the way forward.”

Former chief minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader BS Yeddyurappa called for a plan to utilise the increased quantum of water in a judicious manner. “Supreme Court’s verdict on the Cauvery is welcome and will help our farmers and ease Bengaluru’s drinking water problem.”

Siddaramaiah, who joined the Congress in 2006, is vying for re-election on a plank of farmer welfare and overall development. He faces the BJP and the Janata Dal (Secular), the party he left more than a decade ago.

The Cauvery basin accounts for 60 seats of the 224 seats in the assembly. The Congress won 30 of these in 2013.

Political analyst Narendar Pani, faculty at the National Institute of Advanced Studies, said the verdict was already being credited to Siddaramaiah’s stewardship. “The immediate impression is that Siddaramaiah managed to get Karnataka the increased quantum of water,” he said.

According to Pani, as the legal strategy belonged to the state, the SC decision will be seen as a victory of the government. “Politically, it is a big victory for him as the Cauvery has a very emotive appeal in this area,” he added.

First Published: Feb 16, 2018 22:37 IST