How the Cauvery verdict is a shot in the arm for the Congress in Karnataka
Karnataka Chief Minister, Siddaramaiah would have heaved a sigh or relief after the Supreme Court delivered its verdict in the Cauvery Waters case. The verdict was a favourable one for Karnataka and what is more important is that the Bengaluru factor was part of it.
Injustice has been reversed Siddaramaiah said while reacting to the verdict. The verdict was crucial for the Congress government considering it came during the election year. Polls are due in Karnataka in the next two months.
The verdict which came out just minutes after Siddaramaiah began reading out the state budget will bolster the chances of the Congress especially in the Cauvery basin.
It is out here that the Congress is in a direct fight with the JD(S). An adverse verdict would have put the Congress in a spot of bother. It may be recalled that S M Krishna had in 2004 shifted out of his Maddur constituency and opted for Chamrajpet in Bengaluru after facing the wrath of the people in the Cauvery waters issue.
When Siddaramaiah faces the elections he is sure to speak about the verdict and he would also go on to tell the farmers how he stood up for their cause.
In the run up to the verdict, Siddaramaiah has made all the right noises. When the court had in 2016 ordered Karnataka to release water, he defied the order. He even held a special session of the legislative assembly to make his point clear. However owing to contempt Karnataka changed its stance and released water. Siddaramaiah was criticised for buckling under pressure. The state's advocates however say that Karnataka could not afford a contempt as it would have had a bearing on the final verdict. The legal team was right.
While the Congress would gain in the Cauvery basin, it is the JD(S) which would lose. Siddaramaiah would also use this against the BJP. The BJP which has made the Mahadayi water issue a poll plank had got its calculations wrong. Siddaramaiah would use this against the BJP to tom tom about his achievement on Cauvery. He would say that the SC ordered more water to Karnataka while a BJP government in Goa has not released water for drinking purposes.
Siddaramaiah would also make the most of this order in Bengaluru city. The urban area considered to be a BJP bastion. However in the final Cauvery order there was a silver lining with the Supreme Court addressing the concerns of Bengaluru city's drinking water woes. The court allocated 4.75 tmcft water exclusively for Bengaluru while terming it as a global city.
The Congress had come under criticism for not doing enough to address the drinking water problems in the city. However with this order, the Congress will hard sell this point to the voters in Bengaluru.