The opposition Congress in Karnataka Assembly charged the BJP government on Monday with failure on the "Cauvery legal battle" and pushed for replacing eminent lawyer Fali S Nariman, representing the state on the river dispute with Tamil Nadu for long.
The BJP government faced fire from the Congress and the JDS for releasing Cauvery water in compliance with the February 7 Supreme Court order before staging a walk-out. Defending the water release, chief minister Jagadish Shettar and water resources minister Basavaraja Bommai said, it was done after Nariman told the government to first comply with the court's order of releasing 2.44 TMC ft to Tamil Nadu, arguing that such a move will in fact bolster the case of the state, which is set to file a review petition before the apex court.
Congress leader Siddaramaiah argued that Supreme Court orders in recent times on the Cauvery issue appeared to be only based on "Tamil Nadu's arguments" and alleged that it's clear that the state has lost its legal battle as far as the Cauvery issue was concerned.
"Change the lawyer. Nariman is not the only one; there are better lawyers in this country", he said to which, Bommai pointed that the senior counsel had been representing the state for the past 27-28 years.
Accusing the government for trying to 'stick to power', Siddaramaiah said the Government should not have released water and should have faced consequences. "They (Tamil Nadu) are demanding water for crop; we need it for drinking, he said."
HC Balakrishna of JDS slammed "lack of political will" on the Cauvery issue and warned that the government will face people's ire on the streets. Shettar said, he was ready to "sacrifice" power or go to jail by defying the Supreme Court and earning contempt of court, if they were solutions. He noted, in a federal structure, states are bound by Supreme Court orders.
Shettar and Bommai accused the opposition parties of trying to politicise the issue. Bommai said when the Congress and JDS were in power, there were instances of releasing Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu clandestinely as also earning contempt of court. Siddaramaiah warned that Bangalore, Mysore and towns in the Cauvery basin will face severe drinking water shortage in the summer, and alleged that the government has betrayed the people.