“It is time people of Karnataka demanded the BJP government to implement the Mekedatu project. After all, the state elected 26 BJP MPs to bring the BJP to power. Prime Minister Narendra Modi should either give approval for the project immediately or the BJP should prepare to get dismissed by people both in the state and at the Centre,” said AICC general secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala, who addressed the ‘Namma Neeru Namma Hakku’ (Our water is our right) padayatra that culminated in Bengaluru on Thursday.
“What is the reason for the BJP government stalling a drinking water project for seven years? This project is not against any state but an effort to utilise the excess water that is flowing into the sea. If this water is tapped, it will help Bengaluru overcome its drinking water crisis for the next 50 years. We must all resolve to keep this fight going. The day Congress party comes to power in Karnataka, we will implement the Mekedatu project,” said Surjewala, who also hailed KPCC chief D.K. Shivakumar for bringing all the leaders together for the cause.
The 155-km padayatra that started from Sangam in Kanakapura on January 9, was abruptly ended on the fifth day owing to the third wave of Covid-19. However, the second phase of the padayatra, that began this week, saw party leaders and workers march together from Ramanagara to a grand finale at the National College grounds in Bengaluru. The event turned into a show of unity by senior leaders though the grand old party is riddled with factionalism and power tussles.
Earlier, Shivakumar hit back at the Bommai government for slapping cases against Congress leaders for taking out the padayatra (citing DM Act). “We are ready to go to jail but we will not back out from this fight. The walk for water is in the interest of the state. But the BJP is trying to mislead people. It was the Congress governments that built 26 dams in the state. We will continue to fight for our share of water across all parts of the state, ” he said.
Former deputy chief minister Dr G. Parameshwar dared Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai to announce budgetary allocation of Rs 5,000 crore, when he tables the state budget on March 4. “The CM should show his commitment by setting aside funds for the project and vow to implement the project the day it gets the Centre’s nod,” said Parameshwar.
Leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge demanded to know why the Centre was delaying the environmental clearance for a drinking project, when Modi’s “industrialist friends” were managing to get approvals within 15 days to set up the industries.
CLP leader Siddaramaiah expressed happiness over the overwhelming response to the rally from people.