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Govt. accuses Cong. of being irresponsible on Mekedatu

Padayatra scheduled on Jan. 9 a political gimmick: Karjol

Ahead of the padayatra by the Opposition Congress against delay in executing the Mekedatu project, the ruling BJP Government on Saturday accused the former of being “irresponsible” with respect to the project when it was in power.

Speaking to reporters, Water Resources Minister Govind M. Karjol termed the padayatra scheduled on January 9 as “political gimmick” and said the party had launched similar protest marches on January 7 and 14, 2013, accusing the then BJP Government of failure to expedite projects under the Upper Krishna Project.

“Wait for some days. I will provide explosive information” in the interest of people of the State. When it was in power in the State, the Congress demonstrated its laxity in implementing the Mekedatu project. The Congress should make public if it has made any prompt efforts towards implementation of the project in the years it ruled, he demanded.

Tamil Nadu unanimously passed a resolution urging the Union Government not to accord permission to Karnataka for the Mekedatu dam in the Cauvery basin.

Minister for Revenue R. Ashok too hit out at KPCC president D.K. Shivakumar for neglecting the project when the party was in power on its own and later, in the coalition Government. The padayatra was aimed at garnering votes ahead of the 2023 Assembly elections, Mr. Ashok said.

On enforcement of COVID-19 norms by the Government for padayatra, Mr. Shivakumar said “no one launches protests by seeking permission from the Ggovernment”. He also blasted Mr. Ashok and said the Minister has no concern for Bengaluru city and drinking water shortage faced by its residents. He criticised Home Minister Araga Jnanendra for his statement that “COVID-19 norms are applicable to all political parties”.

The Congress locked horns with JD(S) leader H.D. Kumaraswamy on the Mekedatu issue. The JD(S) termed the padayatra a “mere show” as the party leaders know nothing would be achieved.

Meanwhile, Mr. Shivakumar maintained that his party’s Mekedatu campaign is apolitical, and that he had invited actors and pontiffs to join.

He termed the BJP Government’s plan to free Hindu temples from State control as “a historic blunder”. “Temples are the wealth of the Government and the wealth of the treasury. The BJP Government is trying to take a political stand by looking at other States. The Congress will oppose it,” he said.

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