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Opposition seeks clarification from Naveen Patnaik on Mahanadi issue

The opposition members alleged that the Chief Minister did not reply to their questions in the Assembly and "behaved like the president" of the ruling BJD instead of being leader of the House.

By: PTI | Bhubaneshwar |
September 26, 2016 10:26:49 pm
Naveen Patnaik, mahanadi issue, mahanadi odisha, mahanadi river, mahanadi water, mahanadi water dispute, odisha news, india news Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik. (Source: Express file photo)

Odisha Assembly on Monday witnessed repeated adjournments over Mahanadi river water dispute with opposition Congress and BJP demanding specific clarification from Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on the issue, a debate on which was held on Saturday. The opposition members alleged that the Chief Minister did not reply to their questions in the Assembly and “behaved like the president” of the ruling BJD instead of being leader of the House as well as the state.

“We are disappointed over the Chief Minister’s statement on Mahanadi issue. It is really unfortunate that the Leader of the House did not behave as such. I am of opinion that he failed to give leadership to the House. “He may be a good leader for his ruling BJD, but neither he is leader of the House nor a statesman,” Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra alleged. Asserting that what the Chief Minister had said in his statement on Mahandi river water dispute with Chhattisgarh on Saturday will not solve the issue, he claimed, “The Chief Minister gave one-sided replay. He must reply to questions raised by the opposition during the debate.”

Mishra said during the marathon debate, he had asked what steps the state government had taken after Patnaik assured the House that Chhattishgarh will not allowed to proceed on with its construction activities in 2001. “On April 10, 2001, Patnaik had said the Chhattishgarh would not be allowed to go on with construction activities. What steps has the state government taken in the last 15 years,” Mishra asked.

In 2001 BJD was part of the NDA government at the Centre and a party MP was the Union Water Resources Minister. Chhattishgarh was also ruled by BJP government, he said. The Congress leader said, “This House has all the rights to know what the state government has done in the last 15 years to stop Chhattisngharh’s construction. The Chief Minister must inform the House about his government’s steps so far.”

BJP MLA Rabi Nayak, who attempted to speak on the issue, however, could not put forth his view. Government chief whip Ananta Charan Das, criticised the Leader of Opposition for saying the Chief Minister failed to emerge as the leader of the House. “We do not need Leader of Opposition’s certificate,” Das said. Congress whip Taraprasad Bahinipati raised objection to the Speaker allowing the government chief whip to intervene when the Leader of Opposition was speaking.

Mishra also objected to the Chief Minister’s statement on Saturday where he said that the all-party meeting convened by him earlier had no sanction of the Congress leadership. “The AICC had allowed me to hold the all-party meeting on Mahanadi issue,” he claimed.

The House, however, remained noisy all day as the opposition staged agitation in well of the House as soon as it assembled for question hour in the morning. Speaker Niranjan Pujari first adjourned the House till 3 PM. Later, he had to adjourn the proceeding for at least five times as the opposition members also attempted to climb the Speaker’s podium.

“We found nothing in the Chief Minister’s statement except abusing BJP, Congress and other opposition parties in his speech. We expected a unanimous resolution to be passed on Mahanadi water row thereby putting pressure on the Centre and Chhattisgarh. It is unfortunate that the Chief Minister did not do that,” BJP leader Pradip Purohit said.

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