AFTER BADALS, it was the turn of Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh to announce on Sunday that “not a single drop of water will go out of Punjab”. He also announced that a Congress delegation, including MPs and MLAs, would meet President Pranab Mukherjee on November 17 to apprise him of the situation and request him to protect the interest of Punjab farmers and not allow construction of the SYL canal as ordered by the Supreme Court.
The Congress organised a massive rally at Khuian Sarwar village on the Abohar-Ganganagar Main Highway, the tail-end of the SYL canal, on Sunday.
Addressing the rally, the Captain dared the Akalis to quit the Assembly and face the Congress in the elections, which he said should be held next month itself to prevent Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal from further vitiating the atmosphere of the state.
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Meanwhile, former Congress Legislature Party leader Sunil Jakhar demanded that CM Badal be booked for sedition.
“He has not only failed to protect the interests of the people of Punjab but is now also inciting the people by giving statements that they should be ready to face the bullet. He is using the people’s sentiments to hide his own blunders.
The Governor should take immediate note of this before there is law and order problem,” he cautioned.
Reacting to the CM’s assertion that he was ready to face the bullet in order to protect the waters of Punjab, the Captain said that Badal had made similar claims in 1984. But, when the time came, he went into hiding in his farms in Uttar Pradesh, leaving the people of Punjab to fend for themselves.
“The Akalis had 10 years to resolve the issue and fight the case in court effectively. But, they failed to do anything,” said Amarinder, adding that they were only interested in the creation of Punjabi Suba in order to rule a Sikh-dominated region for their vested interests. “Why did he not tell the court that Punjab had no water to spare with all the glaciers having melted,” he added.
Reiterating his demand for a new tribunal to assess the quantum of water available with Punjab, the captain said it was essential to take further steps on sharing of river water and vowed that the Congress would go all out to find a legal solution to the SYL tangle.
Also, lashing out at AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal for failing to clarify, even three days after the SYL verdict, whether he stood with Punjab on this vital issue, the captain said, “His silence is deliberate as he has his eyes on Punjab chief minister’s chair while also trying desperately to protect his interests in Delhi and Haryana.”
Jakhar lashed out at Badal, accusing him of allowing the SYL issue to hang fire till the elections. Claiming that the entire SYL issue was a premeditated attempt by the Akalis to divert public attention ahead of the Assembly elections, he said, “The Badal government did not even bother to hire competent lawyers till after the decision came out against the interests of Punjab.” Jakhar also accused the Akalis of selling off Punjab’s water rights to the BJP in exchange for the passage of the Sajhedari Bill so that they could retain their hold on the gurdwaras.