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Bijay’s remarks on negotiation panel leaves State BJP red faced

 A day after Union Minister Uma Bharati announced formation of the Negotiation Committee to help resolve the ongoing tussle between Odisha and Chhattisgarh on Mahanadi water sharing issue, senior BJP leader Bijay Mohapatra dismissed the initiative calling it an attempt to weaken Odisha’s legitimate demand and further complicate the matter.

Bijay’s posturing on the contentious issue not only defies the stand taken by the State unit of BJP, it amusingly resonates the views taken by ruling BJD which, in the meanwhile, has rejected the proposal.  

Speaking to reporters senior BJP leader Bijay Mohapatra today expressed doubts over the effectiveness of the Negotiation Committee, formed by the Union Government to resolve the row over Mahanadi water between Odisha and Chhattisgarh.

“I don’t know why the committee was formed. There was no need for the Water Resources Ministry to form the Committee. A far as I know, the decision to be taken by the Committee will in no way resolve the Mahanadi issue. Why will any state obey its decision,” Mohapatra said.

After the failure of the meetings between Chief Secretaries and Chief Ministers of both Odisha and Chhattisgarh, the Centre was left with two other options.

“The Prime Minister should have called up both the states for a discussion or he should have taken step for the formation of an inter-state water dispute tribunal,” Mohapatra added.

The senior BJP leader said that after the failure of talks between the chief ministers of these two states, the State government had proposed to the Water Resources ministry on November 21 last year for the formation of a tribunal.

Reiterating the demand for formation of a tribunal, he said since the meeting between these two states has failed, Centre should have acceded to November 21 proposal of Odisha government for formation of a tribunal which is the only way out to resolve the impasse. “I have all along maintained that only Tribunal can bring lasting solution to the ongoing dispute”, said he stressing that no political motive should be attributed to his posturing. 

Moreover, involving three more States - Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh – is a very unwelcome move. If in all earlier deliberations these States were not involved, what was the necessity to engage them now, he questioned.

Mohapatra alleged that the Central Water Commission was also not treating Odisha on equal footing with Chhattisgarh.

His remark that formation of the Negotiation Committee is nothing but an attempt to further complicate the matter and dilute Odisha’s demand has left the State BJP red faced as the mood was quite upbeat after Uma Bharati’s announcement. The State leadership which was feeling uncomfortable after strong resentment was aired by Congress and BJD against the decision of State BJP to declare Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh as a star campaigner in the rural polls was found much relieved with Uma’s announcement of the Negotiation Committee and the statement that she could even give her life for Odisha’s cause.    

Every leader authorized to speak on the subject was aware of party’s position, said BJP’s State unit president Basanta Panda who was found caught unawares with Bijay speaking out with a voice that goes against party line on the issue.  


Précis 2017
From asking his party men to ‘live a simple life and serve the people’ to taunting the BJP for its ‘crocodile tears’, Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik has not only become politically invincible, he seems to be so in the coming years too.


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