Panaji: Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane on Friday dismissed BJP President Amit Shah's pro-Karnataka comment on the Mahadayi interstate water dispute as an election stunt. Mr Rane, however, expressed confidence that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief would ensure that the interests of Goa are protected vis-a-vis Karnataka in the Mahadayi river water row.
"In an election, many statements are made. I am confident Amit Shah will ensure that the interests of Goa and the interests of our state are protected irrespective of whatever statement may have been made," Mr Rane told a press conference in Panaji on Friday.
Mr Rane said this when he was asked to react on Mr Shah's comment at a poll rally in Karnataka's Hubbali region where the BJP President promised to resolve the Mahadayi dispute in six months and that waters from the multi-state river would flow into Karnataka.
Questioned if the Goa BJP leadership will ask Mr Shah, who is scheduled to visit the state on Sunday, to deliver a statement promising to protect Goa's interest vis-a-vis the Mahadayi issue, Mr Rane said: "We will see when he comes here. We will have a discussion with him."
Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra are currently contesting parties in the Mahadayi inter-state water disputes tribunal over the controversial Kalsa-Bhandura dam project across Mahadayi river, through which Karnataka aims to divert water from the Mahadayi basin.
The Tribunal hearing the dispute is expected to deliver a verdict in a few months.
Mahadayi, also known as the Mandovi river, is considered a lifeline in the northern parts of the coastal state. It originates in Karnataka and meets the Arabian Sea in Panaji while briefly flowing through Maharashtra.
The river course is 28.8 km in Karnataka and over 50 km in Goa.