Bengaluru: The Opposition in Karnataka on Wednesday asked the state government at an all party meeting not to release 6,000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu till Thursday as per the Supreme Court's fresh order. The state cabinet which would meet later in the day would take a final decision on the matter, Parliamentary Affairs and Law Minister TB Jayachandra told reporters after the meeting called by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in the wake of the situation arising out of the apex court's order on Tuesday.
Though the Minister declined to divulge the views expressed by the Opposition leaders, they later told the media that they have opposed release of water. "The Opposition – the BJP, JDS and Raitha Sangha – have expressed their views and we have heard them fully. Ultimately the cabinet will sit and take a decision," he said.
Floor leaders of both the Houses, MPs and legislators and district in charge ministers from the Cauvery basin attended the meeting to take stock of the fresh development.
The Supreme Court bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and UU Lalit had directed Karnataka to release 6,000 cusecs water to Tamil Nadu till 30 September, despite a resolution passed by the state legislature last week to use the water only for drinking purpose.
The Centre has also called a meeting of the two warring riparian states in New Delhi on Thursday to thrash out a solution to the raging row over release of water. Asked if any suggestions were made advising the government to defer release of water till Thursday, Jayachandra said he would not like to into the details for now.
"No, I don't want to go into the details. We have considered and we have heard them (The opposition and the legal experts). We will take a final decision in the cabinet," Jayachandra said.
Asked to react to the Opposition, BJP Leader Jagadish Shettar's suggestion not to release water on Wednesday, Jayachandra said, "I wouldn't like to comment on it now, but would do so after the cabinet meeting."
On whether it would amount to contempt of court if Karnataka defers releasing water to Tamil Nadu, Jayachandra said, "At this point of time I do not want to react to it." Earlier, Shettar said BJP has suggested that the government should honour the 23 September legislature resolution signalling Karnataka's inability to implement the court's earlier direction to release 6,000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu from 21 September till 27 September.
"Our party has placed our suggestion before the government to honour its decision taken during the special legislature session," he said. The legislature at its session on 23 September had adopted a unanimous resolution to use the water only to meet drinking water needs and not to provide it for any other purpose.
BJP also advised government not to release water, not before the chief ministers' meeting to be chaired by Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharati in Delhi on Thursday, Shettar said. JDS spokesperson YSV Datta said the government should not release water on Wednesday as it would not matter much because the flow of water, anyhow, has increased after a few spells of rainfall in downstream areas of Cauvery basin. He also said the government should not go back on its decision taken in the assembly.