Political leaders in Karnataka reacted strongly to Goa Water Resources Minister Vinod Palienkar’s comments calling Kannadigas ‘harami’.
Palienkar reportedly made the remark while speaking to reporters in Goa after visiting the Kalasa-Banduri Nala project site at Kanakumbi in Belagavion on Saturday. The project aims to divert the Mahadayi river water at Kanakumbi. "The Karnataka government is playing dirty politics over the Mahadayi dispute and had diverted the river water, which should flow in Goa,” said Palienkar as per Deccan Chronicle.
He also said, “Kannadiga people are 'harami' and can stoop to any level,” to a query on why he was seeking security cover during his visit to the project site.
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah took strong exception to Palienkar’s remarks and took to Twitter to express his displeasure.
The abusive words used against #Kannadigas by @BJP4India Irrigation Minister from Goa are reprehensible to say the least. However, we hold no grudge against the people of Goa. We will continue to strive to secure drinking water from #Mahadayi for our people.— Siddaramaiah (@siddaramaiah) January 14, 2018
Meanwhile, BJP State President BS Yeddyurappa sought an unconditional apology from Palienkar over his remarks.
Several other leaders including BJP's KS Eshwarappa and JDS leader HD Kumaraswamy also condemned the Goa Minister's remark.
Palienkar is a member of the Goa Forward Party (GFP), an ally of the BJP in the state. He has repeatedly insisted that the state will not share a drop of water with neighbouring Karnataka without a tribunal verdict.
His stance on the issue contradicts Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who had written a letter to Yeddyurappa promising to release water.
Palienkar had earlier termed the letter a political stunt. “As Water Resources Minister I have made my stand clear. Whatever he (Parrikar) has written (in the letter), he has not sent me. You ask him. If he has sent it to Karnataka, I can only comment, that it must be a political stunt, therefore he sent the letter. I do not want to say anything more about that," Palienkar said speaking to Times of India.