BENGALURU: Will Centre’s May 3 draft scheme on Cauvery give nightmares to BJP in poll-bound Karnataka? The Supreme Court’s latest rap to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led Union government over the drafting a scheme for Cauvery water sharing has the potential to put Karnataka unit of the BJP in a spot ahead of polls. The Union government is compelled to submit a draft scheme on Cauvery on May 3 — barely nine days ahead of Karnataka Assembly Polls. While the Congress-led state government has made its stand clear against the constitution of a Cauvery management board, the uncertainty of what the draft may hold is looming large over BJP in the state.
“I do not believe that the draft scheme will influence anyone. The Congress won’t get a single extra seat over Cauvery issue. It is a matter of the state’s welfare and not political,” said Brijesh Kalappa, Counsel for Karnataka in the Cauvery matter and Congress leader.
The Congress also believes that the scheme will have zero impact on the voters since it was common knowledge that the Supreme Court order had to be implemented. Kalappa, however, added that while there is a “feel good factor” about Karnataka getting additional 14.5 TMC Cauvery water, there was nothing more to the matter.
The state BJP believes that confusion over the constitution of a management board was engineered by the Siddaramaiah government. “The SC order does not seek the constitution of a management board but only demands a scheme to supervise water sharing in distress. The Siddaramaiah government, without understanding this has told the Centre that they oppose a management board.
It was unnecessary confusion. At the end of it all, we have to wait and watch what the Centre’s draft will mean for Karnataka,” said Suresh Kumar, MLA, BJP. Asked it the Centre bungled by delaying approaching the Supreme Court, Suresh Kumar defended that it was regular practice to approach courts late to ensure more time for gathering consensus. Brijesh Kalappa agreed that approaching courts earlier would have made no difference to the case.
While it is a risk that the BJP won’t run, Psephologist also believes that the draft scheme will have no impact on the voters’ choices. “I do not see the draft scheme making any difference to voter choices since the matter is only about a scheme in place and no changes to the allocation of water can be made,” said Narendar Pani, Psephologist and Professor, School of Social Sciences, National Institute of Advanced Studies.
The BJP, however, is aware of the ramifications, even if only psychological, if the draft is presumed to be unfavourable to Karnataka or mentions the possibility of constituting a Cauvery Management Board.