Congress challenges Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani for an open debate on Narmada issue

Ahmedabad: Congress in Gujarat dared Chief Minister Vijay Rupani to have an open debate on the issue of Narmada dam after he accused the opposition party of trying to sabotage the project for years.

In a series of tweets, both the sides lashed out at each. Senior Congress leader replied to a tweet posted by Rupani almost a week ago.

Hitting back,  Gohil said it was the BJP government in Gujarat and not the Congress which tried to sabotage the dam project. In a series of tweets today, Gohil, who is also a national spokesperson of the party, said, "I challenge you for an open debate on #Narmada. Pls show the courage to accept my challenge. You can decide the time and place. #Gujarat".

"In a true democracy, an open debate is the healthy way. @vijayrupanibjp kindly let me know the time and place. Let us openly debate on #Narmada," he said in another tweet.
Gohil said a debate is required as "India and Gujarat deserves to know the truth on #Narmada (sic)".

When contacted, the Congress leader said that he had challenged the chief minister for the debate because what the latter has said about the dam was not true.

"The Congress' contribution to Narmada is immense and no other political parties can match it," he told PTI.

Accusing the ruling BJP of trying to derive a political mileage in the election year, Gohil said the state government waited for the three years after receiving a nod to construct gates on the Narmada dam.

"The BJP's failure to implement the Narmada project is huge," the Congress leader said.

Gohil questioned "failure" of the state government in finishing the construction of 38,000 km Narmada main canal network despite being in power for the last 22 years, saying "no permission was required for the construction".

"Environmental clearance for the project was given by the erstwhile Rajiv Gandhi government, without which there would have been no Narmada dam in the first place. The BJP government has only created hurdles on the implementation of the project," he said.

Addressing a gathering at the inauguration of the third pumping station on the Kutch branch of the Narmada canal network, Rupani slammed the Congress alleging that the previous UPA government at the Centre had created roadblocks in completion of Narmada project.

The NCA (Narmada Canal Authority) had given approval to the state government on June 12, 2014 to raise the height of the dam, days after Narendra Modi took over as prime minister.

The Gujarat government had told the state Assembly that though the work to install 30 gates was over, they will be closed only after people displaced due to the project are relocated.

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Updated Date: May 23, 2017 21:56:56 IST