Panaji (Goa), February 28, 2018 (TMC Desk) BJP national president Amit Shah has sold out the interests of Goa and Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar by openly siding with poll-bound Karnataka over the Mhadei water dispute, state Congress president Shantaram Naik said on Wednesday.
“Shah has sold out Goa and Parrikar. He has said that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will resolve the Mhadei issue in favour of Karnataka. He is openly siding with Karnataka. Goa doesn’t mean anything for the BJP,” Naik told a press conference.
Two days back Shah, during a visit to Kalaburgi in Karnataka, had said that the BJP would resolve the Mhadei water dispute, if it comes to power in the southern state.
“I assure the people of state that if the BJP is voted to power, it will solve the Mhadei river water dispute,” Shah had been quoted as saying.
Naik also said that ruling BJP MLAs in Goa should ask why Shah made a statement, which potentially compromised Goa’s interests in the dispute.
Goa’s Water Resources Minister Vinod Palienkar has already called Shah’s comments “unreasonable” and “politically motivated”.
Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra are currently involved in a dispute over the controversial Kalsa-Bhandura dam project across the Mhadei river, through which Karnataka aims to divert water from the Mhadei basin to a nearby basin on the Malaprabha river. The Tribunal hearing the dispute is expected to deliver a verdict in a few months’ time.
Mhadei, also known as the Mandovi river, is considered a lifeline in the northern parts of the coastal state. It originates in Karnataka and meets the Arabian Sea in Panaji in Goa, while briefly flowing through Maharashtra.
The river course is 28.8 km in Karnataka and over 50 km in Goa.
After a meeting with Shah in December last year, Parrikar in a letter to senior Karnataka BJP leader B.S. Yeddyurappa had offered to discuss sharing of drinking water from the Mhadei river with Karnataka on humanitarian grounds.
The letter had evoked sharp criticism from his own cabinet colleagues as well as the opposition and civil society groups, who accused the Goa Chief Minister of selling out the state’s natural resources only to help the BJP, ahead of the Karnataka assembly polls.