Rajya Sabha: SP accuses Centre of water politics

SansadTV Bureau

Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu speaking in the Rajya Sabha

On Friday, Samajwadi Party MPs confronted the government in the Upper House by alleging that the government was playing petty politics by sending an ‘empty’ water train to drought- hit Bundelkhand region in Uttar Pradesh.

Party MPs staged a walkout after they were not satisfied with Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu’s reply. Protesting SP members trooped into the Well of the House raising slogans against ‘water politics’.

SP alleged that Centre did not keep the state government in loop before sending the water train. They also slammed the Centre for not sending additional funds for tankers and dam to deal with drought in Bundelkhand.

Disgruntled SP members demanded an apology from the minister and staged a walkout.

“State government did not ask for water train. They asked for funds which you didn’t give. Can a Minister do water politics? The Minister should resign,” Samajwadi Party spokesman Naresh Agarwal said.

Prabhu tried to refute SP’s the charge by saying that a steam-cleaned, 10-wagon train was on the way to fill water at Jhansi before going to the drought-hit areas.

“We don’t want to play any politics,” Prabhu said adding he had spoken to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.

“We are ready to provide whatever help is needed,” said Prabhu.

Reportedly, the UP state government had sought central funds for building dam, water tankers, de-silting ponds and handpumps, none of which was agreed to by the Union Government.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi assured more help from the Centre to assuage SP members.

JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav said there was serious crisis in Bundelkhand and no politics should be played on the issue by sending an empty water train.

BSP chief Mayawati said 50 districts of Uttar Pradesh were facing drought and both central and state governments should rise above party politics and think about solving the water crisis.

(With inputs from PTI)