DMK Working President M K Stalin on Saturday began a mega rally over the Cauvery issue, that will cover the delta regions of Tamil Nadu, seeking immediate setting up of a management board to ensure release of water for farmers.
Days after holding a state-wide shutdown steered by his party on the river water issue, Stalin began his rally from the dry river banks of river Cauvery at suburban Mukkombu here, in which tens of hundreds of cadres of DMK and other opposition parties participated.
State secretaries of the CPI(M) and CPI, K Balakrishnan and R Mutharasan respectively and VCK chief Thol Thirumavalavan, MMK leader M H Jawahirullah were among those who accompanied Stalin in his Cauvery yatra.
The DMK working chief lambasted the AIADMK regime for allegedly not taking action on the Cauvery issue and recalled his party-led protests and a shutdown on April 5 to bring pressure on the Centre over the matter.
Stalin said the present rally now was in continuation of such programmes on the Cauvery issue.
"This rally is not for political reasons. We have to get our rights (on Cauvery) and you (opposition leaders) have understood this," Stalin, who successfully brought the opposition together on the issue against the central and state governments, said.
Stalin blamed the State government for waiting till the end of the Supreme Court set March 29 deadline for mounting pressure on the Centre for constitution of the Cauvery Management Board.
The DMK leader said a recent cabinet meet chaired by Chief Minister K Palaniswami did not even formally request the Centre to form CMB, leave alone condemning it on the matter.
The ruling regime did not heed his party's advice to go in for mass resignation of its MPs to pressure the Centre. Had it done so, his party's Rajya Sabha MPs, though only four, would have followed suit, he said.
The DMK leader who is also the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, said the Centre should have immediately swung into action to implement the "clear and final verdict," of the Supreme Court on the Cauvery issue.
A new 'rally song' by DMK "Tamizha,Tamizha," which blames the Central and State governments on the issue, was played.
The "Cauvery Rights Retrieval Yatra," is being held in two phases.
While the Stalin-led rally began here today, another similar journey, to be led by former Union Minister A Raja and other senior DMK leaders, will begin on April 9 from Ariyalur district.Both rallies would converge at Cuddalore on April 13.
At Cuddalore, a grand public meeting is scheduled to be held, where resolutions on the Cauvery issue will be adopted.
Later, Stalin is scheduled to call on Governor Banwarilal Purohit and present him the Cauvery resolutions seeking the CMB.
Ahead of the start of the rally, farmers leader P Ayyakannu said if the CMB was not set up, Cauvery waters would not be available leading to desertification in Tamil Nadu.
"Protect the farmers," he told the gathering of cadres of opposition parties.
CPI(M) State Secretary K Balakrishnan said the State government 'does not have the guts' to question the Centre for filing a plea in the Supreme Court seeking "three months time" over the Cauvery issue without constituting the CMB.
Thol Thirumavalavan said the ruling AIADMK stood isolated due to its handling of the Cauvery issue while all other Opposition parties have rallied behind the DMK.
The rally signified people, parties and farmers standing together over the Cauvery issue to pressure the Centre to get the CMB formed, he said.
Chief of rationalist outfit Dravidar Kazhagam K Veeramani, leaders of left parties, Balakrishnan and Mutharasan, IUML leader K M Khader Mohideen, MMK leader Jawahirullah, Tamil Nadu Congress Committee leader Velusamy, MDMK presidium chairman Duraisamy spoke welcoming the Stalin-led rally.