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'Sonia, Karunanidhi must ensure water release'

By Our Special Correspondent

CHENNAI, JUNE 6. The Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, today said that it was the responsibility of the Congress president, Sonia Gandhi, and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president, M. Karunanidhi, "to see to it that Tamil Nadu gets its rightful share of Cauvery water."

In a three-page statement, she said that the DMK, the Pattali Makkal Katchi and the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam had been part of the National Democratic Alliance Government at the Centre for the past five years. During this period, the leaders of the parties "never lifted a little finger to get Cauvery water for Tamil Nadu."

These parties must shoulder greater responsibility now and "no escape and no excuse will be acceptable" to the people. "The responsibility of all these political parties, which these 40 members of Parliament belonging to Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry represent, is all the greater today because, despite our repeatedly pointing out the betrayal of Tamil Nadu on the Cauvery issue by the DMK, the Congress, the PMK, the MDMK and the two Communist parties, in the recently-held parliamentary elections, the people of Tamil Nadu have thought it fit to vote in favour of this alliance (Democratic Progressive Alliance)," she added.

Ms. Jayalalithaa said that so far the role of these parties had been limited to criticising her efforts. "Today, the same parties are part of the next coalition Government at the Centre led by the Congress. We presume the Congress will be part of the delegation, which will call on the Karnataka Chief Minister. Here again, I am constrained to point out that for the past five years, there was a Congress Government in Karnataka and yet the Congress president... did not lift a finger or utter a single word to instruct the Karnataka Chief Minister to release Tamil Nadu's rightful share of Cauvery water."

Ms. Jayalalithaa also took exception to Mr. Karunanidhi's reference to Goddess Chamundeeswari and said that it was not the first time that he was making "such derogatory statements."

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