Chennai: Asserting that there was no change in Tamil Nadu government's policy on the Hogenakkal drinking water project Chief Minister M Karunanidhi on Tuesday said it has not been dropped but only put on hold to prevent bloodshed in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
Addressing a press conference here, he took a dig at the Opposition AIADMK and MDMK which had alleged that the DMK government had betrayed the people of Tamil Nadu and said there was no change in the state's policy on the issue.
Responding to the Opposition's charge that he had unilaterally announced the decision to put the project on hold without consulting the Assembly, Karunanidhi said since the House had a three-day holiday, he was not able to announce it in the Assembly.
''Moreover it was not a policy changing decision-as claimed by the Opposition'', he said and added ''It's about a project''.
''I had never said in my speeches or in statements that the Hogenakkal project had been dropped'', he asserted and described as a ''joke'', the AIADMK and its ally MDMK's charge that he had betrayed the people of the state by shelving the project.
On Jayalalithaa's contention that the Hogenakkal project had no links with the ensuing Assembly polls in Karnataka, Karunanidhi said the concern for Tamils had prompted him to put the project on hold. ''Definitely, the Hogenakkal project is the right of Tamil Nadu,'' he said, that it was not shelved as claimed by the opposition.
The Project Management Consultant had been appointed and the Tenders were called in February this year. The tenders were opened last month and the project plan would be finalised by July this year and it would be completed by December 2012.
Observing that there was bound to be violence during elections even in peaceful states, Karunanidhi said the seeds of violence have already been sown in Karnataka and the security of the voters, candidates and poll officials would be at risk.
''Moreover some forces in Karnataka were inimical and allergic to Tamils. Only to save the Tamils living in Karnataka and to protect their life and property, as a true Tamilian, I am forced to make such an announcement,'' he added.
Karunanidhi also denied the Opposition charge that he had put the project on hold expecting a berth in the Union Cabinet for her poetess-daughter and Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi.
When asked about this, he said ''I don't know who has that power in Karnataka to give a Union Cabinet post to Ms Kanimozhi.'' On former Karnataka Chief Minister S M Krishna's remark that he would move the Supreme court on the Hogenakkal project, he said Krishna spoke to him on April 5 and clarified the position.
''He also told me not to believe the media reports.''