The Cauvery river water sharing dispute from now is unlikely to be a major political issue with the Supreme Court giving a “favourable” verdict for Karnataka.
The decades-long dispute with neighbouring Tamil Nadu has always been a sensitive and volatile issue and, any adverse verdict by the Supreme Court against Karnataka could have ignited a political time bomb ahead of the Assembly polls in the state.
All parties on Friday welcomed the verdict of the apex court, reducing the allocation to Tamil Nadu by 14.75 tmcft and, at the same time expressed that there could have been more allocation to Karnataka. But, all said and done, parties were apprehensive about the verdict as it could have had an substantial impact on their electoral prospects.
All the four riparian states – Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry – had filed petitions challenging the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal award of 2007 before the Supreme Court.Under pressure from farmers, parties in power in Karnataka have even refused to follow Supreme Court directions on sharing of water with Tamil Nadu, only to be castigated by the apex court. Political leaders have gone on dharnas, hunger strikes ,and the issue has also resulted in riots and violence in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
However, Fridays verdict has brought down the tension, at least in Karnataka. The issue had shaken the successive governments. In 1991, the government led by S Bangarappa even went to the extent of promulgating an Ordinance after the Tribunal announced an interim award ordering to release 205 tmcft to Tamil Nadu. However, the SC struck down the Ordinance.
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