Bhubaneswar: Mahanadi water sharing issue continues to hold the centre-stage even during the panchayat poll campaigning, as the ruling BJD and Opposition BJP lock horns over the issue. A day after BJP criticising chief minister Naveen Patnaik for not supporting the Negotiation Committee on Mahanadi, the ruling party on Monday said that Union Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan is acting like the spokesperson of Chhattisgarh government with an aim to be re-nominated to the Rajya Sabha next year.
Talking to media, former minister and senior BJD spokesperson Surya Narayan Patro said it’s disheartening that being son of the soil the union minister is talking against the interest of the State.
“The Chhattisgarh government has supported the Negotiation Committee which has been formed to help that State government. But it is unfortunate that he (Pradhan) is acting as spokesperson of the neighbouring State and speaking in favour of the committee.....If he really wants the benefit of Odisha he must ask the Chhattisgarh government to stop the ongoing construction works in the upper catchment area of Mahanadi first,” Patro said.
“I heard that his Rajya Sabha term is coming to an end in 2018. Probably because of this he is supporting the Chhattisgarh government as he wanted to be re-nominated to the Upper House,” he stated. Notably, in March 2012, Pradhan was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Bihar.
The BJD leader warned that the people of Odisha will give the Union minister a befitting reply in the upcoming panchayat polls.
“...He (Pradhan) has never told that the Chhattisgarh government must start discussion after stopping all construction works undertaken in Mahanadi river...I have heard that Chhattisgarh chief minister is coming to campaign for BJP in Odisha. He must stop all the bridge and barrage works and then campaign here, else the Odisha people will give him a befitting reply to him. The people of Odisha will not tolerate anybody who’s is working against the State,” he maintained.
Meanwhile the Congress party has said that both BJD and BJP have joined hands to gain political mileage in the upcoming polls.
“To oppose the Negotiation Committee formed to resolve Mahanadi issue is also a political negotiation (between the two parties). Both want to fish in troubled waters...It’s a conspiracy and we demand before the chief minister and Prime Minister that the construction work in the upper catchment area of Mahanadi should be stopped first and, then only an ambience can be created for negotiation between two States,” Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Prasad Harichandan said.