In the absence of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha, state finance minister O Panneerselvam, who has been allocated her portfolios, will preside over the Cabinet meeting today. The meeting will discuss the ongoing Cauvery water dispute with Karnataka and the demands raised by Opposition parties.
Jayalalitha has been hospitalised since September 22 and this will be Panneerselvam’s first time in chairing a met ever since he was handed over the portfolios. Moreover, the Supreme Court will today resume its hearing on the Cauvery water dispute after it directed the Karnataka government to release 2000 cusecs per day to Tamil Nadu till further orders are given. In response, the Karnataka government has filed a petition in the court asking for larger constitutional bench to be constituted to look into the dispute. A bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra, Amitava Roy and AM Khanwilkar are currently hearing the case.
On October 17 and 18, Opposition parties staged a ‘Rail Roko’ protests demanding that the Centre intervene in the Cauvery conflict and set up Cauvery management board. Farmers’ bodies and political parties had staged state-wide rail blockade which led to an arrest of hundreds of protestors while the rail services were resumed after a short while.
Last week, Tamil Nadu Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao had allotted the portfolios held by Jayalalithaa including Home and Police, to Panneerselvam, till she could resume official duties. The Raj Bhavan had then, in a release, said Paneerselvam, who holds the Administrative reforms portfolio, in addition to Finance, “will also preside over cabinet meetings.”