Bhubaneswar: With elections just round the corner, the Congress is trying to politicize the Mahanadi issue to woo the voters in Odisha, especially in Western Odisha where more than 90 per cent of the people are dependent on the river.
Even though the Mahanadi Water Disputes Tribunal urged the Odisha and Chhattisgarh governments to amicably resolve the water sharing dispute, the newly elected Congress government in the neighboring State is not showing any interest to settle the row.
It is apparently clear from Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel’s statements on the issue on Sunday during his visit to Odisha.
While attending Khariar Mahotsav in Nuapada District as part of the Odisha Congress’ poll preparedness, the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister revealed a dubious solution to the ongoing water sharing dispute between the two States.
Baghel clearly said that if Congress returns to power in Odisha, the Mahanadi watering sharing dispute can be amicably settled with dialogues between the two States.
Similarly, Chhattisgarh Health Minister TS Singhdeo who reached Bhubaneswar on Sunday evening to attend a party’s programme at Jagatsinghpur on Monday on people’s participation in Congress manifesto preparation, held similar views on the Mahanadi dispute.
When the Congress came to power in Chhattisgarh defeating the BJP in the recently concluded Assembly pools, the people of Odisha pinned hopes that the new government in neighboring state would take constructive steps to settle the dispute caused due to the illegal construction of barrages by the then BJP government in Chhattisgarh with the support of Prime Minister Modi-led Central Government.
AICC President Rahul Gandhi remained silent on the Mahanadi issue during his recent back-to-back visits to Odisha.
Ironically, the Odisha Congress is reportedly supporting the neighboring State’s stand on the dispute.
Meanwhile, Odisha’s ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has strongly condemned the Congress and BJP’s stands on the issue.
“We had always expected and were hopeful that mutual discussion would resolve the issue. With this mindset we had gone to Delhi but were betrayed. The attitude of both BJP and Congress on the Mahanadi issue reflects their bias against Odisha,” BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra said.