Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar on Tuesday said the state is in a "catch-22 situation", following the Cauvery Water Management Authority's (CWMA) direction to release water to Tamil Nadu, and sought the Centre's intervention to resolve the issue.
Water Resources Minister Shivakumar urged the opposition BJP, its leaders and Members of Parliament to prevail upon the Prime Minister to bail out Karnataka, while noting that he will be travelling to Delhi to meet MPs and the Union Ministers during the ongoing Parliament session.
He also defended the state's decision to release water to Tamil Nadu, citing advice of the legal team in view of the case coming up in the Supreme Court for hearing later this week, where non-compliance of CWMA orders may be viewed seriously.
"We are in a catch-22 situation, we do not have water, but still have to respect, whatever be the decision of the authority. We are appealing before the Apex Court. I'm going to Delhi to meet the MPs, we will also take a delegation to the central (Jal Shakti) Minister, we have also requested the PM to intervene and bail us out," Shivakumar said.
Speaking to reporters here, he said, "If there is water, we don't mind (releasing water to TN). There has been no inflow, we are finding it very difficult. I think the central government has to help us out. BJP leadership (from the state) has to join us to save Karnataka."
CWMA's directions come after the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC) last week recommended that Karnataka release 5,000 cusecs of water every day for the next 15 days to the neighbouring state.
Meanwhile, there are reports of water being released from Krishna Raja Sagara (KRS) Dam, despite farmer's protesting against it, in Mandya and other areas in Cauvery basin region.
Asked about former CM Basavaraj Bommai's suggestion not to release water to Tamil Nadu and asking the state government to prepare for a legal battle, Shivakumar said, "we will consider this suggestion seriously, but his suggestions are aimed at putting us in a fix politically, in the court. We will fight (legally) there is no other word on this."
Pointing to the case is coming up before the Supreme Court on Thursday, Shivakumar said, "We are not interested in releasing water at any cost, but the Court case should also be kept in mind."
"I'm going to Delhi, requesting all MPs to exert pressure on the central government for intervention. We will put all our efforts. You (Bommai) say not to release water, but if court questions us on complying with the order (of authority) and asks us to comply, what options are left with me or Bommai?" he asked.
"In the interest of the state, everyone should cooperate. We will have to apprise the top court about our situation, we will certainly fight legally," he said, asking Bommai to ensure that the PM intervenes in the issue, keeping politics aside.
Noting that JD(S) patriarch H D Deve Gowda, in the Parliament, rightly suggested an out-of-court settlement based on his seniority and experience, Shivakumar said Bommai being a former CM and Water Resources Minister should be speaking on similar lines, with his experience.
"We are going by the legal team appointed by them (BJP government) ....Use your influence in Delhi and protect the interest of the state," he added.