Cauvery floods TN poll scene
It was once a green artery. Today, the Cauvery river is like a dreary desert that stretches for miles.
Tamil Nadu is reeling under a severe drought for the last three years. Even in areas outside the Cauvery belt, people thirst for water.
Scanty rainfall and the Cauvery river dispute have now made water the single biggest issue in these polls. All candidates are forced to explain what they did to resolve the crisis.
At Mayiladuthurai, Mani Shankar Aiyar (Congress) has released a CD containing his speeches in the Lok Sabha on the Cauvery issue. But his AIADMK rival O.S. Manian asks: "What is the point of speaking on this issue? What prevented him from asking Sonia Gandhi to force S.M. Krishna to release water?"
DMK's old warhorse (and sitting MP from Thanjavur) S.S. Palanimanickam echoes his leader M. Karunanidhi, saying Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalitha's ego problems with Krishna came in the way of the state getting water. His AIADMK challenger Thangamuthu says Jayalalitha established the state's legal right before the Supreme Court and ensured release of at least 6 TMC of Cauvery water.
In Trichy, MDMK nominee L. Ganesan — No. 2 after Vaiko — is mobbed by farmers with water-related grievances.
Being close to Thanjavur, the voters in Nagapattinam too want to know when they will get water. The DMK’s A.K.S. Vijayan promises the issue will be solved once Sonia becomes Prime Minister.
At his first election rally in the state on Wednesday, Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee promised to work with Jayalalitha to expedite the proposed project to interlink rivers to end the water crisis. Jayalalitha in turn presented Vajpayee as a messiah. Film star Rajnikanth handed a memo to Vajpayee on this issue. He has promised to donate Rs 1 crore for the project.