PANAJI: Opposition Congress in Goa on Wednesday reached the state secretariat to garland Chief Minister Pramod Sawant as a protest over his remarks on the Mahadayi river issue, but the party leaders' attempt was foiled by the security personnel.
The Congress leaders said they wanted to garland the CM and tell him to take "all the credit" on the Mahadayi issue, but save the river water from being diverted.
This comes a day after Sawant expressed confidence that the Centre will withdraw the Environment Clearance (EC) given to Karnataka to build Kalasa Banduri project on the Mahadayi.
The CM had also said that the opposition should not try to take credit in case the EC is withdrawn.
Several Congress leaders, including Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) member Janardan Bhandari, North Goa district president Vijay Bhike, Bicholim block president Meghashyam Raut, reached the secretariat to protest Sawant's remarks by garlanding him.
However, they were stopped at the entrance of the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) by the security personnel.
Talking to PTI, GPCC chief Girish Chodankar said, "The CM should have had the courtesy to meet us and know why we have come with a garland. We don't want any credit for saving Mahadayi. Sawant and his party can take all the credit but they should save the river."
He said the Congress does not want to play politics on the issue and it is acting with the sole aim of protecting the river.
Congress has earlier launched 'Mahadayi Jagor', an awareness campaign against the state government over its "failure" to convince the Centre to withdraw the letter.
Earlier this month, an all-party delegation had met Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar in New Delhi, urging him to withdraw the EC letter, after which his ministry had reverted with the communication to the Goa government that a committee has been formed to study the subject.
The Centre had last month accorded the EC to the Karnataka government's long-standing demand for the Kalasa Banduri project, aimed at providing drinking water to three north Karnataka districts by diverting water from the Mahadayi river in Goa.
The project involves diverting water from Mahadayi river, the lifeline of Goa, into the Malaprabha river.
However, political parties and activists in Goa have opposed the Centre's approval for the project.