BENGALURU : The Janata Dal Secular will launch a statewide protest over pending irrigation projects in Karnataka, party supremo and former prime minister HD Deve Gowda has said. In an attempt to counter criticisms that JDS will become redundant in the 2023 Assembly elections in Karnataka, Gowda said he will revive the party’s fortunes through protests.
“Resolving issues around Upper Krishna, Mekedatu and Mahadayi projects are our priority. We will launch a statewide padayatra under the leadership of HD Kumaraswamy soon after the Assembly session ends. I, because of my age, won’t be able to take part in the padayatra... but I will participate symbolically in rallies and congregations,” Gowda told reporters here on Saturday.
Regarding the Mekedatu issue, he said some leaders from Tamil Nadu he had spoken to had advocated a reservoir on the Cauvery river at Hogenakkal on the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border, and not Mekedatu in Ramanagara district.
“A reservoir at Hogenakkal would mean encompassing a large catchment area whereas in Mekedatu, the catchment area is small,” Gowda said. The former prime minister said only a regional outfit like JDS could find a solution to these two river water disputes and not any national party. “Both- Congress and BJP don’t fight for Karnataka’s concerns but JDS will,” Gowda added. Gowda also rued the unruly scenes in the Rajya Sabha and wastage of the recently concluded Parliament session.
‘Rahul Gandhi needs to walk the extra mile’
Speaking about the possibility of a united opposition to take on the BJP in the future, Gowda said that each regional party was strong in their respective states. “Rahul Gandhi needs to walk an extra mile to hone his political skills,” Gowda said, wondering what the Congress leader had achieved by taking out a bicycle rally recently to protest hike in fuel price.
“We did not get to discuss key issues like inflation, fuel prices that are affecting people in the Parliament. I have never seen such disrespectful behaviour in the House in all of my career,” Gowda said.