Members of the Karnataka Legislative Council on Friday unanimously decided that water from the Cauvery river will be released only be released to Bengaluru and the towns and villages in the Cauvery basin. The council passed a resolution to the effect, reiterating the government's position of not releasing water to Tamil Nadu, despite the Supreme Court directing it to do so on Wednesday. However, Karnataka did not mention Tamil Nadu in its resolution at all, reported Times of India.

The ruling Congress party introduced the resolution, and both the Opposition parties – the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Janata Dal (Secular) – supported it. BJP leader KS Eshwarappa and JD(S) floor leader Basavaraj Horatti said they will "fully support the resolution." The BJP's open support to the Congress government was seen as an important development as it had earlier boycotted an all-party meeting on the same issue.

At Friday's special session, all the parties agreed that water cannot be released for any purpose other than for meeting drinking water needs, keeping in mind the low storage levels of the Krishna Raja Sagara, Hemavathy, Harangi and Kabini dams, reported The New Indian Express.

The resolution goes against the Supreme Court's order asking the state to release 6,000 cusecs every day to Tamil Nadu from September 21 to 27. On Wednesday, the Karnataka Cabinet had said it would defer the release of water to Tamil Nadu till the council came to a decision on the matter.

Back and forth

On September 5, the Supreme Court had asked Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs of water from the river to Tamil Nadu, but it later modified its order and reduced the quantity to 12,000 cusecs. The court verdict had led to widespread protests carried out by farmers in Karnataka, who argued that the state needed the water more that its neighbour.

Tamil Nadu had also held a bandh on September 16, with farmers’ and traders’ bodies saying Tamilians had been targeted by Kannadiga protestors. The Cauvery Supervisory Commitee had then suggested the state release 3,000 cusecs of water. Subsequently, the Supreme Court arrived at 6,000 cusecs.