Addressing a press conference here five days after he was taken back to his state by Maharashtra authorities following his protest at the Babhli site, TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu said the Centre has to "come into the picture" and direct Maharashtra to stop work at the Babhali barrage in Nanded district.
"Chavan is going ahead with the project for his political gains," he alleged. An all-party delegation from Andhra Pradesh will be meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh tomorrow demanding his intervention in the issue.
Naidu said the Central Water Commission had twice directed Maharashtra not to go ahead with the project till a final decision is taken.
"Also, the Supreme Court had directed Maharashtra not to construct 13 gates of the barrage until further orders, though it can go ahead with the Babhali barrage. Chavan is saying there is no such orders. This is contempt of court," he charged.
Despite these directions, Naidu claimed, the Centre was not intervening. "Is it not the Central government's duty to ensure that the directives of Supreme Court and Central Water Commission are not violated?" he asked.
He also sought to clear the air on allegations that he was raising the issue with an eye on the July 27 bypolls to 12 Assembly constituencies in the Telangana region.
"Election is not a big issue. Elections come and go. For the last six years, we are fighting on this issue. Then, there were no elections. Bypolls have no link with us raising the issue," he said.
On being arrested on July 16 for trying to visit the project site, Naidu said, "there is no need to get a visa to visit Maharashtra. It is in India. If one goes there to collect first-hand information, what is wrong in it.
"They (Maharashtra Police) cheated us. They came to the Andhra border and said they will take us to the project site. We sat in their bus and they took us to ITI campus where they said we were arrested," he said.