Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Saturday expressed his keenness to contest the next general polls from Odisha, but left it to the party to decide whether he would contest Lok Sabha or Assembly election.

Speaking on the sidelines of an event in New Delhi to mark the 20th anniversary of OTV, Pradhan stated, "If the party gives me a chance, I will contest forthcoming polls. The party will decide whether I will contest from Lok Sabha or Assembly seats."

On Bijoy Mohapatra issue, Pradhan said some leaders in the party do not like discipline. "The BJP leaderships will decide how to bring back discipline in the party."

To a query on recent happenings in BJD, Pradhan replied, "Dismissal of Damodar Rout from the council of ministers is only a political gimmick by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik." He questioned why the BJD supremo was mum when Damodar used unparliamentary language against Bishnu Charan Das or made caustic remarks against Anganwadi workers.

When asked about the Mahanadi issue, he said the chief ministers of Odisha and Chhattisgarh should once again come to the discussion table to sort out the issue. The Prime Minister also wants this and has asked the Water Resources Minister to arrange Chief Minister-level talks soon.

"In case the chief minister-level talks fail, a tribunal will be formed mandatorily as per the law," Pradhan added.

Besides, he informed a new bill will be tabled in the winter session of Parliament under which a tribunal will be constituted to address all the inter-state water disputes.

Also Read: Damodar Rout loses minister post over casteist remarks

In his reaction, BJD MP Prasanna Acharya, said, "If Pradhan is so eager about a solution to the Mahanadi water dispute, he could have interfered earlier."

Acharya also stated, "As per an amendment to the River Dispute Act in 2002, there is a time limit for formation of a tribunal. Moreover, when the official level discussion and CM-level talks have already failed, the next recourse should be the PM's intervention."