Bhopal: The ruling BJP in Madhya Pradesh on Monday charged the Opposition Congress of "disrespecting" river Narmada and "hurting" the sentiments of people who considered it to be the sacred river.

"The Congress MP from Dewas, Sajjan Singh Verma in the presence of Union Minister for Urban Development Kamal Nath and Hoshangabad MP (Congress) Rao Uday Pratap Singh alleged while addressing a function at Hoshangabad recently that Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and his family are exploiting Narmada river," the state unit BJP president Prabhat Jha told a press conference.

"This is highly derogatory and disrespect to not only river Narmada but also of the large number of people who treat the river more than their own mother," he said.

What is more surprising is the fact that the above incident took place in the presence of a senior Union Minister, Jha said.

The BJP president resorted to a two-day sit-in in Bhopal on the issue demanding unconditional apology from Verma within 48 hours and threatened of launching massive protests in the cities, towns and villages situated along the course of the river in the state.

When contacted, Verma said that whatever he had said was in the context of illegal sand mining from the river in which Chouhan's family members are also involved.

(Agencies)