Water politics is taking centre stage in Karnataka ahead of the assembly elections. Even as the Congress and the BJP in Karnataka fight it out over the Mahadayi issue as people of North Karnataka continue to protest, OneIndia News caught up with Goa's water resources minister Vinod Palyekar. The Mahadayi water sharing issue concerns three states of Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra. Manohar Parrikar's letter to Yeddyurappa assuring water for drinking purposes to the people of North Karnataka has drawn him criticism from other parties and within. This is what Parrikar's minister from his ally party- Goa Forward Party- had to say about the issue.
Can you please make Goa forward party's as well as Manohar Parrikar government's stand on the Mahadayi issue clear?
Our stand on Mahadayi is clear. Mahadayi is our mother and it is our duty not to compromise on the matter. Our state is dependent on the river which is our only source of water. She is our lifeline and losing her will lead to many problems. For this reason alone, our stand is very clear that there will be no compromise on the issue.
Your party has said it will forego the ministry if water is diverted to Karnataka, will you also withdraw support from the government?
Mahadayi is our mother and we are willing to sacrifice anything for her. This ministry is nothing and I am willing to hand it over anytime. We will not compromise on the issue of Mahadayi.
By agreeing to release water for drinking purposes, are you not helping the BJP play politics over Mahadayi in Karnataka?
My stand is very clear. We are not bringing in politics here. What matters to us are the people of Goa and not which political party gains or loses anything over Mahadayi. We do not indulge in such political games. It doesn't matter to us who gains or loses, what matters to us are the sentiments of the Goan people.
Are political parties hoodwinking people of Goa and Karnataka over Mahadayi?
Our party- Goa Forward Party- is interested in the welfare of the people of Goa. We are willing to forgo anything for the people and their sentiments are what matters to us. We are not playing politics with it. We, in the interest of the people, have decided that compromise on the matter is not an option but let me clarify that there is no politics being played around it.
Vinod Palyekar, however, refused to answer questions pertaining to why Manohar Parrikar chose to write to Karnataka BJP chief B S Yeddyurappa instead of his counterpart Siddaramaiah. The Goa water resources minister also chose not to respond on whether Amit Shah's intervention was required in the interstate affair. There has also been no response to Karnataka water resource minister M B Patil's request to sort the issue in one single sitting.