Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel on Sunday alleged that “urban Naxals” had opposed the ambitious Sardar Sarovar dam on the Narmada river to deprive the state and arid Kutch region of water and development.
While addressing a gathering in Bhuj in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Patel also alleged that activist and Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar was an “urban Naxal” who had received political support as well.
Urban Naxal term is often used by some segments of the political spectrum to describe sympathisers of the Naxalism cause as well as certain social activists.
Patel made the comments after the PM inaugurated the Bhuj-Mandvi Narmada branch canal, which has brought water to this arid region from the Sardar Sarovar dam in the Narmada district.
“On this occasion, when Narmada water has reached Kutch, we should also remember who were those people who had deprived Kutch from getting this water for nearly five decades. We all know who were those urban naxals who had opposed the Narmada dam project,” said Patel in his address.
“Those urban naxals were against Gujarat and Kutch too. They tried hard to deprive Gujarat and Kutch of development. One of those urban naxals was Medha Patkar. We all know which political party these people were associated with,” claimed Patel.
Without taking names, the CM said a political party had given her a ticket to fight Parliamentary elections.
Patkar had unsuccessfully fought the 2014 Lok Sabha polls from Mumbai North East on an Aam Aadmi Party ticket.
“These people had tried to bring the Naxal ideology to Gujarat by misguiding people of the state. But smart people of Gujarat did not let them succeed,” said Patel.
He said Modi had struggled hard against anti-Narmada and anti-Gujarat elements to bring water to the arid region of Kutch when he was the chief minister of Gujarat.
“As the Gujarat CM, he had even sat on a fast against the then Central government (under the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance) to bring water to the dry regions of the state. Within 17 days of assuming the office of the prime minister, Modi gave permission to install gates on the dam. He has transformed Kutch by bringing Narmada water here,” said Patel.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)