Congress in Kerala today criticised Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's statement signalling a shift in the state's stand on Mullaperiyar dam, which is a bone of contention between it and neighbouring Tamil Nadu.
KPCC President V M Sudheeran and former chief minister Oommen Chandy said Vijayan's stand was contradictory to the unanimous resolution passed by the assembly demanding construction of a new dam in place of the existing 112-year old reservoir in view of safety concerns.
Vijayan, talking to reporters in New Delhi yesterday, had stressed the need for solving the dam dispute with Tamil Nadu through talks and said there was no meaning in Kerala keeping "unnecessary" concern over the issue.
Sudheeran said the Chief Minister should explain the reason behind this change of stand.
Kerala had responded unitedly on the dam issue from the very beginning itself, he said.
The stand of Vijayan 'neglecting' assembly, political organisations and people's sentiments was 'mysterious', he said adding it was a challenge to the people who live under the grip of fear (about the dam).
Chandy said Kerala had always maintained the stance of "water for Tamil Nadu and safety for Kerala".
Vijayan should correct his statement on the dam, he added.
Chandy also wanted CPI-M veteran V S Achuthanandan to explain his stand on the matter as he was one of the vehement critics of UDF government's response to the issue.
Former home minister Ramesh Chennithala also came down on the Chief Minister's statement and said "it went against the spirit of the people".
The Chief Minister's stand would only help to protect the interests of the neighbouring state, he claimed.
Vijayan had also pointed out the Supreme Court committee's finding that the dam was strong.
Asked about the state demand for a new dam, Vijayan countered it by asking what would it do with the existing one.