I&B MoS Ambareesh quits over Cauvery award

NEW DELHI: Renowned Kannada actor-turned-politician MH Ambareesh has quit as the minister of state for information and broadcasting and also his seat in the Lok Sabha protesting that the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal had been ''unfair'' to Karnataka in its final verdict.

Ambareesh announced in Bangalore yesterday that he had sent his resignation both to Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee as well as Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, and also sent a copy to Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

However, his resignation was rejected Chatterjee on technical grounds. The Speaker's office contended that Ambareesh had faxed the resignation, which was not the acceptable method of putting in papers, even as his fans also urged him to withdraw the resignation.

Ambareesh announced the resignation following pressure by people in his constituency Mandya when he was gheraoed by lawyers when he came to participate in a function in the Karnataka High Court here to release a special cover and cancellation of the Postal department to commemorate the golden jubilee of the High Court.

Holding that the Tribunal had caused "injustice" to the southern state, he complimented the lawyers for taking up the cause of the state. Congress circles in the state were caught complete unawares by his move.

Karnataka had been witnessing widespread protests after the 5 February Tribunal award, which directed Karnataka to release 192 tmc ft of water to Tamil Nadu, pegging the state's requirement at 270 tmc ft as against 419 tmc ft of the lower riparian state.

The star, who was elected from the Mandya Lok Sabha constituency for a third time in 2004, had led a procession of cine artistes against the award in the city yesterday.

Meanwhile, G Made Gowda, president of the Cauvery Hitarakshana Horata Samiti, which is spearheading the agitation on the water sharing issue, termed the resignation of Ambareesh as a hasty decision and said the star should continue as a minister and fight for the water rights of the state.

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