JHARSUGUDA/BARGARH: The heat generated by the BJP over sharing of Mahanadi river water saw Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik deter 45 degree Celsius temperature to launch the Mahanadi Surakhya Abhijan at Sukhasoda here where the river enters the district.
Aware that Mahanadi river will be a major issue in the upcoming elections in the State, Naveen and his party leaders made a blistering attack on the BJP Government at the Centre and Chhattisgarh blaming that the party is being partisan as Odisha is a non-BJP ruled State.
While the BJD managed to send out the message to the impressive gathering that the BJD is trying its level best to ensure the free flow of water in Mahanadi river, it also painted BJP as a villain and charged it with maintaining double standards over the issue.
Addressing the gathering, Naveen accused the State BJP leaders for supporting Chhattisgarh and failing to rise to the occasion despite the interest of Odisha being hampered. They are also visiting the areas and shedding crocodile tears, he observed.
The Chief Minister said that if the Odisha unit of BJP have sympathy for people of the State, they should dare to oppose the construction of barrages by the Chhattisgarh Government.
Terming Mahanadi as the lifeline of Odisha, he said that his Government had moved the Supreme Court following which Tribunal was constituted. But surprisingly they have sat over the terms and references of the Tribunal which is reflecting on Mahanadi as well as the water level in Hirakud Dam.
"The drying up of Mahanadi has affected rabi crop in many areas and fisherman have been snatched off their livelihood. We will not let the river to dry up. The BJD will lead people of Odisha in the fight for Mahanadi and save it for generation next," Naveen assured.
Earlier, after landing at Jharsuguda Aiport, Naveen took a chopper to Sukhasoda and on his arrival at around 10.30 am drove straight to the entry point of Mahanadi accompanied by Chairman of Western Odisha Development Council (WODC) Kishor Mohanty and Chairman of Odisha Lift Irrigation Corporation (OLIC) Anup Kumar Sai.
The CM inspected the ground realities and interacted with farmers and fisherman's present at the spot before addressing the gathering.
At Chikili, Naveen said Odisha cannot be considered in isolation and it is incomplete without Mahanadi. He also hit out at the Centre and Chhattisgarh Government stating that the issue has exposed the BJP. Later, he waved party flag to kick-off a motorcycle rally by Biju Yuna Janata Dal supporters which will lead the campaign. The campaign would cover over 1,500 km through 45 Assembly constituencies in 15 districts along the Mahanadi basin and culminate at Paradip on May 30.
During the campaign, the regional party would organise street meetings workshop, awareness meeting, distribute leaflets and other literary materials and play audio-visual on Mahanadi in every gram panchayat, block and sub-division and district headquarters. The BJD MPs, MLAs and panchayat representatives have been asked by the party to spend night in villages through which the campaign will pass through.
Among others, Ministers Prafulla Mallick, Niranjan Pujari, Snehangini Chhuria, Sushant Singh, BJD Rajya Sabha members Prasanna Acharya, Soumya Ranjan Patnaik and former minister Sanjay Dasburma and a host of leaders also addressed the meeting.