The oneupmanship of various political parties in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka with an eye on impending state Assembly and the 2019 Lok Sabha elections has triggered a war-like situation in both the states over the Cauvery water dispute.

While ongoing protests against the BJP-led Central government over its inability to form the Supreme Court-directed Cauvery Management Board on time in Tamil Nadu has resulted in a total bandh in the state on 3 and 5 April called by farmers and Opposition DMK, the Karnataka parties reciprocated  with a bandh on 5 April.

DMK along with the Opposition and alliance parties have called for a massive bandh across Tamil Nadu on 5 April and had invited the ruling AIADMK to participate. The Opposition parties called upon political parties, farmers associations, traders, students and youth to support the bandh. The meeting resolved to hold a Cauvery Rights Retrieval March from the Cauvery Delta region to the Raj Bhavan in the next phase.

The Opposition DMK has already decided to show black flag to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Central ministers at their visits to TN in the coming days and the other allies also decided to join in it. In the meeting, the Opposition parties strongly criticised the two-party(AIADMK-BJP) ruling, running the state.

The all-party meeting convened by the DMK accused the AIADMK government of conniving with the Centre and betraying the interests of the State.

The meeting chaired by DMK working president M K Stalin said the AIADMK government had terribly failed to utilise the support offered by the Opposition parties on the issue. Top political leaders from the state, including S Thirunavukkarasar (Congress), Thol Thirumavalavan (VCK), K Balakrishnan (CPM), R Mutharasan (CPI) and K Veeramani (DK) participated in the meeting.

“Even though the AIADMK had 50 MPs in Parliament it failed to bring pressure on the Centre and it also could not get an appointment with the Prime Minister for the all-party delegation from Tamil Nadu.

It did not have the courage to file contempt petition when the Union water resources minister spoke against the SC order. It has filed a petition only after the Centre sought three months time,” the resolution adopted by the meeting alleged.

While accusing AIADMK government of fully responsible for TN losing all its rights on the Cauvery water dispute, the meeting criticised that the government has surrendered itself to the communal BJP and became an inseparable partner.”

Reciprocating to the bandh call by the TN parties, the Karnataka political parties too called for a massive protest on 5 April at Tamil Nadu- Karnataka border. They have also decided not to allow Tamil films shown at Karnataka theatres to protest against the former’s demand to form CMB.

For the past few days after the Centre failed to constitute the CMB by 29 March on court order, protests broke out   all over the state with Cauvery Delta farmers association already calling for statewide protests on 3 April.

More than 100 people went on a flash strike at Marina demanding the constitution of CMB. The protest reminiscent of the pro-Jellikkattu stir in 2016 started after messages circulated on social media following which police were deployed at the beach.