Top All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leaders and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Tuesday led his party workers on a day-long fast on the Cauvery issue against the Centre as he vowed to win the state its rights.
IMAGE: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar and others take juice at the end of the AIADMK’s day-long fast on the Cauvery issue in Chennai on Tuesday. Photograph: PTI Photo
"We will fight, get justice and win," he asserted, adding that Tuesday's fast by '15 lakh' party cadres across Tamil Nadu was reflective of the aspirations of the people and farmers on the issue.
While the main opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam continued its stir for the third day on Tuesday, farmers held a well-attended protest in Tiruchirappallai,a Cauvery delta district,in which Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam leader T T V Dinakaran took part in the day.
"We will take forward our protest to the doorsteps of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi if our demand for constitution of Cauvery Management Board is not fulfilled," chief of National South Indian Rivers Inter-Linking Farmers Association P Ayyakannu told PTI.
Retailers, groceries, tiny industries and other outlets in various districts, including Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Tiruchirappalli, Coimbatore, Virudhunagar and Karur,shut shop. However many establishments opened in the evening.
Advocates in Kumbakonam abstained from attending courts on the issue.
In Chennai, DMK held protest demonstrations in several locations with a stir at downtown T Nagar being led by sitting MLA J Anbazhagan.
At Egmore Railway Station here, a rail roko agitation was held by cadres of pro-Tamil outfits and at Villupuram, cadres of Nam Tamizhar party briefly blocked an express train.
However, no major traffic hold up was witnessed anywhere in the state during the day-long strike.
Koyambedu vegetable, fruit and flower market here, one of the biggest markets in the country, observed total shutdown.
At Thanjavur, a scuffle broke out between police and about 100 DMK, Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam men who had gathered in front of the LIC office for picketing. They were later removed by police.
State ministers and senior party leaders led the AIADMK's hunger strike in various districts, observing it between 8 am and at 5 pm.
IMAGE: CM Palaniswami, centre, Deputy CM Paneerselvam, right, and Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar during the AIADMK’s day-long fast. Photograph: R Senthil Kumar/PTI Photo
The arrival of Palaniswami and his deputy Panneerselvam to the fast venue here had an element of surprise as the party had earlier said they would not be taking part in it.
The hunger strike was to condemn the Centre for not having set up CMB, according to the party. It is also to urge setting up of CMB and Cauvery Water Regulatory Committee.
The cauvery protest also saw the ruling AIADMK and main opposition DMK trading charges against each other.
The DMK demanded the resignation of Palaniswami and his cabinet, saying it would 'do good' to the people.
Hitting out at the AIADMK for observing the fast without 'taking steps' on the emotive Cauvery river water-sharing issue, DMK working president M K Stalin dismissed the hunger strike by the ruling party as a 'drama'.
"They should resign from their posts...that will be the only good thing they will be doing for the people", he said.
Hitting back, Palaniswami said the main opposition party was the one which enacted dramas and 'betrayed' farmers despite being part of the erstwhile UPA regime at the centre.
Addressing party workers,he said the Cauvery issue could have been resolved in 2007 itself had DMK given an ultimatum to the Congress that it would quit the United Progressive Alliance government if the demand was not met.
Such a stand would have led to not only the publication of the final award, but also setting up of the CMB, he said.
If such bodies had been set up, farmers would have had no trouble, the Chief Minister added.
"The DMK, however, betrayed Tamil Nadu and its farmers," he alleged.
IMAGE: Markets wore a deserted look as several stores remained shut to protest for the Cauvery Management Board. Photograph: ANI/Twitter
He also sought to turn the tables on DMK for asking them to resign and for charging them with not having mounted pressure on the Centre, saying DMK did nothing when it was in power at the Centre as a partner of the Congress-led UPA.
The DMK-led opposition parties had on April 1 called for a statewide shutdown on April 5, seeking constitution of CMB.
The Centre and the Tamil Nadu government had moved the Supreme Court on March 31 over the issue to comply with the February 16 apex court verdict that directed them to work out a scheme.
The Centre had sought three months' time to implement the order in view of the May 12 Karnataka Assembly polls. It had also asked for clarification on various issues for the formulation of a 'scheme' to implement the court's decision.
The Tamil Nadu government had sought contempt action against the Centre for 'failure' to frame the scheme.
On Monday the Supreme Court had agreed to hear Tamil Nadu's contempt plea against the Centre on April 9.