With Mahanadi river running dry, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said Sunday the BJP-led governments at the Centre and in Chhattisgarh had conspired to stop flow of the river water to Odisha.

Addressing a workshop on Mahanadi at the BJD party office here, Patnaik called upon party workers to go to the people and tell them that the BJP was the one which had caused the drying up of the river. “Mahanadi is the lifeline for people in 15 districts of the state and they are suffering due to the BJP,” he said.

The CM said his government had asked the BJP-led central government to institute a tribunal to resolve the water dispute but the Centre did not agree. “We were forced to move the Supreme Court which ordered the centre to constitute a Tribunal and work has started,” he said.

Before the CM made his brief two-sentence speech, several BJD leaders including MPs and MLAs lambasted the BJP and came up with several proposals like forming a human chain along all 15 districts , going on mass hunger strike and making it the main issue in the next elections.

S R Patnaik, who was recently nominated to the Rajya Sabha, said he was willing to quit his seat in favour of Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan if the BJP MP committed to fight for his state, Odisha, rather than for his party.

“People are facing drinking water shortages, fishermen have lost their livelihood and the river has gone dry. The threat during monsoon would be that Chhattisgarh will release water from barrages that it has built arbitrarily and cause floods in Odisha,” said a leader. BJD leaders said Odisha would suffer both in summer and monsoon due to the “innumerable barrages constructed upstream of the river”.