Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan slams BJP govt over water scarcity, ‘interference’ in institutions

Mumbai: Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan Thursday accused the BJP-led government of ignoring the needs of drought-affected regions in the state, and said the ruling party was busy interfering with the institutions in the country, including the CBI. He said 2019 will be worst year in decades for Marathwada, which was grappling with acute water scarcity, as the ruling party was “turning a blind eye” to the hardships of people.

Chavan was speaking at a rally in Udgir in Latur district of Maharashtra as part of the party’s statewide Jan Sangharsh Yatra. “The BJP-Sena government promised daily drinking water supply to Udgir. Today, Udgir gets water only once every 12 to 15 days,” he said.

Marathwada is presently facing severe water scarcity.
Jayakwadi dam, the lifeline of Marathwada region, currently has only 37 per cent live storage as against 100 per cent stock reported in 2017. In Manjara dam, Latur’s main water source, live storage is zero per cent, he said.

“The Latur MIDC faced an unprecedented two-day water cut a few weeks ago. Industries, farmers don’t have water. If this is the situation in October, what will happen in the months to come?” asked Chavan while hitting out at the government for its “inability” to manage water resources.

Accusing the BJP of indulging in “politics of intimidation”, he said the government wanted to take away the constitutional rights of those who opposed them. He said the CBI director was asked to go on leave because sensitive files, including those on the Rafale deal, were being investigated by him.

“There is a drought in Maharashtra, but the BJP is busy trying to influence the CBI,” Chavan said. The interference existed not just at the Centre, but at the state level as well, he alleged. “The police in Maharashtra are fed up with the BJP-Sena government. Ninety per cent officers are tired of politicisation of the police force in the state,” he said.

“Everyday, there are phone calls asking officers to pick up someone or release someone else,” he said.

Welcoming workers from other opposition parties into the Congress at the rally, Chavan said there was increasing momentum towards forming a united opposition against the BJP and the Shiv Sena. He added that talks were on with the NCP, the Swabhimani Shetkari Saghtana and the CPI. He also said that he was optimistic about Bharip Bahujan Mahasanghn chief Prakash Ambedkar joining the alliance.

According to Chavan, he had spoken to Congress president Rahul Gandhi about the possibility of the BSP joining the alliance in Maharashtra. “If this government is not voted out of power, there will be no elections in the future. We will not allow democracy to be replaced with dictatorship in India,” he said.

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