N Sathiya Moorthy in Madras
The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, J Jayalalithaa, has written for a second time, within a month, to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, seeking the state's share of the Cauvery waters.
Her letter follows the failure of the south-west monsoon in the Cauvery belt, and a fall in the water level of Mettur reservoir.
The chief minister has also written to her Karnataka counterpart S M Krishna in this regard.
Jayalalithaa dispatched the letter on Thursday, as a follow-up to her earlier letter of July 27.
In a tongue-in-cheek reference, she thanked the prime minister for acknowledging the receipt of her earlier letter.
She claimed that the prime minister should convene a meeting of the monitoring committee, in his capacity as the chairman of the Cauvery River Authority.
Jayalalithaa claimed that she received only an acknowledgement from Vajpayee, and none at all from Krishna.
She also claimed that her party had pulled out of the Vajpayee government to protest against the constitution of the Cauvery River Authority, 'as it would not serve any purpose'.
In her second letter, Jayalalithaa has explained that standing crops in the Cauvery delta would wither if Karnataka did not release adequate quantities of water in time.
She has also pointed out how the storage level in the Mettur reservoir, the receiving-point for water releases from Karnataka, has receded in the past weeks.
Just after her election, Jayalalithaa had decided to release water from the Mettur reservoir on June 12, as traditionally scheduled, though reports had spoken about poor rains in the Cauvery catchment areas of Karnataka.
With the rains failing both states thus far, Karnataka has not released the monthly quotas fixed by the Cauvery water tribunal, when Tamil Nadu needed it the most.
With the Cauvery issue threatening to blow into a crisis, memories of Jayalalithaa going on a fast unto death in her earlier stint as chief minister have since been revived in public memory.
Given that she is embroiled in political controversies and legal hassles, the question of Jayalalithaa taking the issue to the people cannot be ruled out entirely at this stage.
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