The BJP has had to work hard to ensure the centre is not seen as siding with either state.

As TN and Ktaka spar over Cauvery BJP caught in a bind both states
Voices Cauvery Issue Monday, October 03, 2016 - 20:39

Even as the Cauvery water dispute continues to vex political life in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, the BJP finds itself in a bind.

On Monday, the Centre told the Supreme Court that it has no jurisdiction to direct it to constitute the Cauvery Management Board and it was under the ambit of the legislature. The Centre’s U-turn at the apex court comes less than three days after Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi agreed to set up the CMB by October 4, as per its directions.

Not surprisingly in Tamil Nadu, the ruling AIADMK and the opposition DMK have hit out at the Centre for opposing the setting up of the Cauvery Management Board, accusing the BJP of moving the apex court with an eye on the 2018 Karnataka Assembly Elections.

But in Karnataka, the state BJP may be hesitant to take political credit over the issue especially after insisting that it is not possible for the Prime Minister to intervene in the issue since it would put the Union Executive in direct opposition to the Judiciary. “Not Prime Minister Narendra Modi but only courts can provide justice. It was an attempt by the Congress government to divert people's attention from its failure on the matter by seeking Modi's intervention,” reiterated BS Yeddyurappa, BJP’s Karnataka president weeks ago.

However, just as the BJP in Karnataka had no choice but to support the Congress-led government’s resolution against releasing water to Tamil Nadu, the national party is forced to sing the same tune as the Dravidian parties in Tamil Nadu.  Speaking to The News Minute, H Raja, BJP leader said, “The BJP in Tamil Nadu is for establishing the Cauvery Management Board. The central government was not made party to the final order of the Cauvery Tribunal and that is why the Centre has asked for clarification.”  

Thanks to electoral calculus, the BJP cannot afford to be seen siding with either state. On the one hand, the AIADMK offers the BJP much needed aid in overcoming legislative obstacles in the Rajya Sabha, and is a potential ally in the 2019 elections.

However, the BJP also sees itself as poised to wrest Karnataka away from the Congress in the next election, since the Siddaramaiah government has been lurching from crisis to crisis in the recent past.

With the past history of Prime Ministerial interventions not being favourable, and with his cabinet colleague Uma Bharti already failing to mediate a solution, it’s no surprise that the PM continues to stay away from the issue, while the party struggles to balance its way on a tightrope across troubled waters.

(Edited by Anna Isaac)


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