Amid the Mahanadi river water dispute and ahead of Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh’s scheduled campaign for the panchayat elections on Thursday, all non-BJP parties in Odisha on Wednesday announced protest programmes. While the ruling BJD has decided to stage a ‘jal satyagraha’ (sit-in protest in water) on Thursday in protest against Singh’s stand on the Mahanadi water issue, the CPI(M) state unit appealed people to boycott the Chhattisgarh CM.
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BJD activists would stage a stage ‘jal satyagraha’ in Sambalpur and Cuttack in protest, said party spokesperson Sashibhusan Behera.
“How will we allow a man in our land who is against the interest of Odisha? Mahanadi is our lifeline. We are saddened as Raman Singh has not stopped construction of a single barrage in the upper catchment area of Mahanadi,” Behera said.
“In the morning, our party activists will stage a protest in Mahanadi river at Sambalpur and in the evening we will perform ‘sandhya alati’ (evening puja) at Cuttack. It will be a peaceful and silent protest,” he said.
“Raman Singh is the person who unilaterally constructed projects on the upstream of Mahanadi river leading to less flow of water to Odisha. People should boycott him as a mark of protest,” CPI(M) leader Janardan Pati said.
Describing Singh as a person who is “anti-Odisha”, Congress MLA Naba Das said party activists would demonstrate when Raman Singh visits Jharsuguda district tomorrow.
The state unit of Samajwadi Party and Odisha Chhatra Yuva Sangathan, a local outfit, have announced agitation programmes opposing Singh’s visit to Odisha.
The BJP, however, defended Raman Singh’s Odisha visit.
“We expect the ruling party to extend minimum courtesy during the visit of a Chief Minister of a neighbouring state,” party leader and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said.
According to a BJP release, Singh would arrive at 11 AM in Budra in Loisingha block of Bolangir district and address a public gathering there tomorrow.
He would address a rally at Kantaikela in Lakhanpur block of Jharsuguda district at 12.30 PM and another rally at Subdega at 2.30 PM in Sundergarh district.