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Saturday 12 February 2000


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Rana miffed at Congress silence over Digvijay's demand to lower SSP height

By Shailesh Pandya

VADODARA: State BJP chief Rajendrasinh Rana has expressed anguish over silence of the Gujarat Congress leaders on the demand of Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh to lower the height of Rs 18,000-crore Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) made at a rally organised in Ahmedabad on January 30.

Rana was addressing a meeting of the party workers at Sevasi village on the outskirts of the city on Friday.

Talking to The Times of India, he said the Congress leaders, including GPCC chief CD Patel, leader of the Opposition Amasinh Chaudhary and AICC treasurer Ahmed Patel, should have stopped Singh from making such demand. What could they have done had the Congress been in power in the state? he asked.

He said the Sardar Sarovar Project is the lifeline of Gujarat. It is the problem of all political parties. "I fail to understand why the Congress decided to make it a party issue," he said.

Singh is under pressure from the Congress lobby in Madhya Pradesh which has been demanding lowering of the height of Indira Sagar dam across Narmada river whose height is linked with the Sardar Sarovar Project.

If the height of Indira Sagar dam is lowered then the height of Sardar Sarovar Project will have to be raised as per Narmada Water Dispute Tribunal," he said.

To save himself from criticism of people of MP, Singh is trying to stir the hornet's nest, Rana said. While the matter is pending in the Supreme Court, there is no need to raise it in such manner. Gujarat has suffered more because of delay in implementation of the project he added.

Rana defended the decision of the Keshubhai Patel ministry to allow the government employees to join the RSS which is a cultural and social organisation.

Elections to the six municipal corporations in the state would be held as per schedule and there is no plan to postpone it, he said.

The BJP is for abolition of the octroi duty. However, before taking the decision, it should be ensured that civic bodies get alternate sources of income on regular basis, Rana said. He will visit Narmada district on Saturday.

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