Chennai: Actor-politician Kamal Haasan, who reached out to HD Kumaraswamy today to discuss the contentious Cauvery water sharing issue, said the Karnataka Chief Minister's response was "heartening". "I see hope in the conversation I have had with HD Kumaraswamy," Mr Haasan said after the hour-long meeting -- officially a first on the issue between political leaders of the rival states.
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The division of Cauvery waters is one of the key points of conflict between Mr Haasan's state, Tamil Nadu and neighbouring Karnataka. Last month, fellow actor-politician Rajinikanth had asked Mr Kumaraswamy to do right by Tamil Nadu after he came to power. Mr Haasan, however, was the first off the block to seize initiative and meet the Karnataka Chief Minister, who invited him for his oath ceremony.
The 63-year-old superstar, who switched career last year and announced his entry to politics, subtly underscored the point. "I can be the squirrel, I can be the bridge, I can be the slipper... i have no ego," Mr Hassan said.
Joking about family wisdom on the need for out-of-court-settlements, he added, "We are sharing water. There are no two ways about it... happy to know that the Chief Minister is looking at it in the same manner."
"It is about relationship between people of the two states," Mr Kumaraswamy added during the joint address to the reporters. Later he tweeted:
Was happy to meet @ikamalhaasan .We decided to work toward improving the mutual bonding between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Whether its Cauvery or other issues it can be resolved by mutual talks based on trust. I requested Mr.Haasan tob a bridge btw 2 states, he reciprocated warmly— CM of Karnataka (@CMofKarnataka) June 4, 2018
Mr Kumaraswamy's predecessor Siddaramaiah, who led the Congress government in the state, had persistently refused to release Cauvery waters to Tamil Nadu despite orders from the Supreme Court, arguing that his state had none to spare.
Mr Kumaraswamy's response to Rajinikanth's plea had indicated that his stand would not be very different. "It is only if there is water in Karnataka that it is possible to give water," Mr Kumaraswamy had said. "I invite Rajinikanth to come here and look at the situation... If after, you still say you want water, let us discuss it."
After much delay, the Centre last week formed the Cauvery Water Management Authority, which was ordered by the Supreme Court to ensure smooth distribution of water to four southern states.