Karunanidhi put on hold Hogenakkal project on his own : Congress

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New Delhi, Apr 9 (UNI) Former Karnataka Chief Minister and AICC General Secretary Veerappa Moily today clarified that Congress President Sonia Gandhi did not personally request Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Karunanidhi to put on hold the controversial Hogenakkal water project till the completion of the assembly elections in Karnataka.

Mr Moily issued a statement here today in the context of the controversy generated by his reported statement in Bangalore yesterday that Mr Karunanidhi had put on hold the Hogenakkal project after Ms Gandhi personally made a request to this effect.

The statement of Mr Moily gave a new dimension to the Hogenakkal controversy with the Opposition AIADMK alleging that Mr Karunanidhi had sacrificed the interests of Tamil Nadu for the political gains of the Congress in the forthcoming elections to the Karnataka state assembly.

"The decision to put the Hogenakkal project on hold is absolutely the decision of Dr Karunanidhi as he feels that there is no popular government in Karnataka in place to resolve the issue," Mr Moily said in the statement, which was read out by AICC Spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan at the routine Press Conference here today.

"While addressing the press in the office of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress committee yesteday, the impression was created that Congress President Sonia Gandhi personally talked to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Dr Kalaignar Karunanidhi to keep the Hogenakkal project on hold," he said.

Mr Moily said the Congress President was interested in an amicable settlement of the dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu as she was very concerned that an environment of peace and cordiality prevail between the people of both the states.

He said the gesture on the part of Dr Karunanidhi was greatly appreciated by the people of Karnataka.

Asked whether Ms Gandhi spoke to Mr Karunanidhi on the Hogenakkal project or not, Ms Natarajan said, "Mr Moily made a statement saying that it is absolutely the decision of Mr Karunanidhi to put on hold the Hogenakkal project. He knows it best." To repeated questions on the subject, Ms Natarajan held aloft the statement of Mr Moily and said "I cannot go beyond this statement." UNI SH RR RK1820

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