TTV Dinakaran, the chief of the newly formed Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK), and his party leaders began a hunger strike on Sunday in Chennai demanding the constitution of the Cauvery Management Board.
Before commencing the hunger strike, Dinakaran paid tributes to former Tamil Nadu chief ministers J Jayalalithaa and MG Ramachandran.
The 54-year-old former AIADMK leader, who formed his own party with other rebel leaders on 15 March at a massive show of power in Madurai, joined the voices demanding the formation of the Board and the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC).
In a historic judgment on 16 February, the Supreme Court reduced Tamil Nadu’s share of Cauvery water and increased Karnataka’s share. Tamil Nadu has been demanding the creation of the Board so that it can be granted the power to open up reservoirs instead of the Karnataka government.
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”.
In its judgment the apex court gave six weeks time to the Centre to constitute the Board. Both AIADMK and DMK have been demanding that the Modi government do that at the earliest. But AIADMK did not support a no-confidence motion called by some opposition parties against the government.
Dinakaran’s protest comes five weeks from the SC order. The deadline for setting up of the board ends on 29 March.