Hubballi: BJP leader Jagadish Shettar on January 16, demanded Goa Water Resources Minister Vinod Palienkar to take back his abusive words against Kannadigas and apologise for hurting their sentiments.
Addressing a press meet, Shettar said,"Being a minister, Palienkar should not have made such a statement. He must take back his words immediately and apologise. He has also made false accusations against Karnataka that they have bribed a witness in the Mahadayi water dispute. In order to gain sympathy from the people of Goa and out of political pressure, he is making such remarks."
He further said, "Karnataka government is playing politics in the Mahadyi dispute. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has not discussed with the leaders of Goa Congress in this regard. Siddaramaiah should have approached the court after receiving the letter from Goa CM."
Vinod Palienkar had triggered a controversy on January 13 by referring to Kannadigas as "harami." Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and former BJP leader from Karnataka B S Yeddyurappa have both censured the Goa Minister subsequently, with the latter demanding an apology from the minister for the abusive remark. Days after calling Kannadigas "harami" or illegitimate births, again on Tuesday, he accused the Karnataka government of being "habitual liars" vis-a-vis the Mahadayi water dispute issue.
In a Facebook post uploaded on Tuesday, Palienkar alleged that the Karnataka government was paying its expert witness to appear before the Tribunal, which he termed an unfair practice.
Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra are currently involved in a dispute in the tribunal over controversial Kalsa-Bhanduri dam project across Mahadayi river, through which Karnataka aims to divert water from the Mahadayi basin to the nearby basin on the Malaprabha river. Mahadayi, also known as the Mandovi river, is considered as a lifeline in the northern parts of the coastal state. It originates in Karnataka and meets the Arabian Sea in Panaji in Goa, while briefly flowing through Maharashtra. The river course is 28.8 km in Karnataka and over 50 km in Goa.
Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar's letter to Yeddyurappa last month to discuss river water sharing for drinking purposes on humanitarian grounds had triggered popular protests in both Goa and Karnataka.
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