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Thursday, August 13, 1998
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No headway in talks with Jaya
AIADMK, allies meet today

CHENNAI, Aug 12 (PTI) — Suspense heightened tonight over the fate of the BJP-led coalition at the Centre as the AIADMK and its allies are meeting here tomorrow possibly to review their support to the Vajpayee Government after two rounds of talks between Prime Minister’s emissaries and AIADMK supremo J. Jayalalitha appeared to have made no headway.

Defence Minister George Fernandes and BJP leader Pramod Mahajan, who flew here this morning in a bid to mollify her in the wake of yesterday’s notification of the scheme for implementation of the Cauvery tribunal’s interim award, strongly opposed by her, met her twice and left for Delhi.

Speculation was rife that AIADMK and its allies are likely to announce the withdrawal of support after she decided to go ahead with tomorrow’s meeting. There was no authoritative version of what Jayalalitha discussed with the two emissaries, who also left for the Capital evading reporters.

An AIADMK source said that Jayalalitha stuck to her demand that the Centre should notify the original draft scheme of 1997 and expressed annoyance over the fact that the government had chosen to implement a revised scheme agreed upon by the chief ministers of four riparian states last week. "The emissaries had nothing new to offer,’’ the source said.

Earlier, Mr Fernandes and Mr Mahajan deftly avoided the Press.

Reporters waiting to meet the two leaders at the airport on their arrival were disappointed when the two leaders did not meet them and drove out of the tarmac.

Intelligence personnel trailing the two leaders lost track when the vehicles carrying them sped the nearby Officers’ Training Academy complex which was inaccessible.

Mr Fernandes and Mr Mahajan travelled in hired taxis to Ms Jayalalitha’s Poes Garden residence in South Chennai.

They travelled in separate taxis, but arrived almost at the same time around 11 a.m. at her residence.

After the talks, the two leaders left Ms Jayalalitha’s residence at noon in the same taxis to an unknown destination, apparently to brief the Prime Minister on the outcome over the phone.

Scores of print and electronic media personnel virtually waylaid them when the two leaders came out of the huge iron gates of Ms Jayalalitha’s bungalow, but they again sped away.

On two occasions earlier when he had met Ms Jayalalitha to buy peace for the BJP-led coalition government, Mr Fernandes had briefed reporters outside the AIADMK leader’s house.back


Cauvery scheme: SC decision on Aug 17

NEW DELHI, Aug 12 (PTI) — A five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court will decide on August 17 whether Tamil Nadu’s suit seeking the implementation of the 1991 interim award of the Cauvery Tribunal survives in view of the Centre notifying a revised scheme on the sharing of the river waters.

Directing the placing of the matter before the Constitution Bench, a three judge Bench headed by Chief Justice M.M. Punchhi said the court was happy that a solution had been found to the vexed issue within the August 12 deadline.

Attorney-General Soli Sorabjee informed the court that the Centre had been able to frame the scheme in consultation with the four riparian states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Pondicherry.

He said with the notification of the scheme prima facie the suit did not survive and could be disposed of. The scheme might now be placed before the five-judge Bench for appropriate orders.

Senior counsel for Karnataka F.S. Nariman submitted that the scheme was arrived at by the Government of India in consultation with all four states and not by a consensus. "We wanted something different and we may not be happy, but the government has framed the scheme."

When the judges asked senior counsel for Tamil Nadu K. Parasaran whether the state intended to withdraw the suit, he said he had no instructions in this regard.

Mr Nariman submitted that nothing probably would survive in the suit but still Karnataka might like to advance some arguments on the issue.

The judges observed that with the framing of the scheme the challenge in the suit virtually vanished. But the five-judge Bench would have to consider the matter before disposing of the suit.

When Mr Nariman told the judges that the scheme needed examination, the Bench observed that the homework done by the Centre and as reflected in the files showed that there had been consultations.

Mr Nariman, however, pointed out that though there were consultations, there was no concurrence on certain points in the scheme notified by the Centre.

The Attorney-General said though there was no consensus there was no opposition either to the scheme.

Mr Sorabjee thanked the Bench for giving time to the Centre to achieve the breakthrough in the vexed issue and in a lighter vein said the setting of a deadline helped reach a solution faster.

He said in due course and in accordance with the law, the scheme notified would be placed before Parliament for further deliberations.

The Centre notified a revised scheme for the implementation of the Cauvery Water Tribunal’s interim award yesterday unmindful of a threat from AIADMK leader J. Jayalalitha, who has opposed the agreement reached between the four riparian states.

Meeting the August 12 deadline set by the Supreme Court, the government issued the notification under which the "Cauvery River Authority" would be created with the Prime Minister as chairman and the chief ministers of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Pondicherry as members.

The notification also constituted a official Monitoring Committee, to be headed by Secretary of the Union Water Resources Ministry, to assist the authority.back

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