Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) chief Kamal Haasan said on Thursday the Tamil Nadu government could have been able to make the Centre form the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) had it wanted.
Addressing reporters at the party office, Haasan said Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami still had the power to make the Centre constitute the board to overlook the contentious issue of Cauvery water sharing between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
“Let him try. He can do if he wants to do it,” he responded to a question on why his party was repeatedly asking the state government to take up the issue and not the Centre.
When asked to present his view on why Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not going forward with the demand for the Board, Haasan said, “I am not trying to outthink the honourable Prime Minister. I can only say what we require: the simple basic requirement. Not just the farmers, the people require water too.”
He also said the Centre had not done contempt of court by not forming the board though Haasan added that he agreed with the “perception” of political parties in the state that it was a tactics ahead of Karnataka elections.
“You can’t say there is contempt of court by the central government because they are asking for doubts,” he said, adding, “This is a last minute tactics by coming out with questions on the last day.”
Haasan was referring to reports that the Centre has decided to ask for clarification on the matter from the Supreme Court as the deadline ends today.
On Thursday, Rajinikanth, too, tweeted that the CMB is the only solution to the Cauvery water issue.
“On the Cauvery issue… setting up of CMB will be the only acceptable just solution for us. I sincerely hope justice will prevail,” the actor tweeted.
On Wednesday, AIADMK MP in the Rajya Sabha, A Navaneethakrishnan, had threatened to commit suicide if the demand for the CMB is not met.
“I reflect the mood, the mental and economic condition of farmers of Tamil Nadu,” the MP told a TV channel.
In its judgment on 16 February, the Supreme Court reduced Tamil Nadu’s share of Cauvery water and increased Karnataka’s share.
The apex court directed the Karnataka government to release 177.25 tmcft of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu from its inter-state Biligundlu dam.
The Supreme Court raised the 270 tmcft share of Cauvery water for Karnataka by 14.75 tmcft and reduced Tamil Nadu’s share while compensating it by allowing extraction of 10 tmcft groundwater from the river basin, saying the issue of drinking water has to be placed on a “higher pedestal”.
The apex court had given the Centre six weeks to form the Board. The CMB, once formed, will take control of the dams across river Cauvery through which it will distribute waters to Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry according to the formula of the Cauvery tribunal.
Tamil Nadu has been demanding creation of the board so that it can be granted the power to open up reservoirs instead of the Karnataka government.