Congress and BJP disrupts Assembly over Mahanadi water dispute in Odisha

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Assembly on Tuesday again witnessed pandemonium by the opposition Congress and BJP members who have been demanding clarification from Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on the sensitive Mahanadi water dispute with neighbouring Chhattisgarh.

File photo of Naveen Patnaik. PTI

File photo of Naveen Patnaik. PTI

The House was adjourned till afternoon as the opposition Congress and BJP members shouted slogans inside well of the House. The pandemonium started as soon as the House assembled for the day.

Though Congress members had started the agitation on Monday, the BJP members joined them in seeking clarification from the chief minister on Tuesday.

Congress whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati tried to climb the Speaker’s podium and displaced papers kept on the speaker's desk. "The ruling party had stalled the House for two consecutive days without any issue. We are simply demanding clarification from the chief minister on what action the state government has taken to stop construction upstream of Mahanadi river by the Chhattisgarh government," Bahinipati said.

Though the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in his reply on Saturday said that the state government was taking both administrative and legal action, the opposition members were not satisfied. They want a specific reply from the Chief Minister, Bahinpati told reporters outside the House.

When all the members cutting across party lines agreed to cooperate with the state government and proposed to meet the Prime Minister and President, the chief minister did not take the
House into confidence, he alleged.

"I, Leader of Opposition and other legislators assured the government of full cooperation to protect Odisha’s interest on Mahanadi. But, government is yet to clear its stand. Instead, the chief minister has been criticising us saying that Opposition is shedding crocodile tears. This is unfortunate. We demand clarification from the chief minister," Bahinipati added.

BJD members on the other hand criticised BJP and Congress for allegedly taking step-motherly attitude toward Odisha.

BJD member and party spokesman Divya Shankar Mishra, however, claimed that the Chief Minister has already indicated the next course of action over the river issue after the discussion.

Chief minister had approached his Chhattisgarh counterpart and Centre in the tripartite meet in Delhi to halt the project, but the BJP-led government-both at Centre and the neighbouring State turned deaf, Mishra pointed out.

Updated Date: Sep 27, 2016 15:11 PM

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