Furious Badal calls House, Captain quits Lok Sabha

Meeting shortly after the Supreme Court ruling, the Punjab council of ministers, in a resolution, said the state government will not allow construction of the SYL canal.

Written by Navjeevan Gopal | Chandigarh | Updated: November 11, 2016 12:23 pm
Captain Amarinder Singh and Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal Captain Amarinder Singh and Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal

Scrambling to outdo each other in poll-bound Punjab, political parties, from SAD (Badal) to Congress to AAP, reacted furiously after the Supreme Court Thursday struck down the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act, 2004. The state cabinet decided to call an emergency session of the assembly on November 16 and meet President Pranab Mukherjee on the matter.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal called the Satluj-Yamuna Link canal a “death warrant” for Punjab while state Congress chief Captain Amarinder Singh said he was resigning as a member of Lok Sabha. Congress legislators too will resign from the state assembly Friday.


Meeting shortly after the Supreme Court ruling, the Punjab council of ministers, in a resolution, said the state government will not allow construction of the SYL canal. It also announced that a campaign called ‘Paani Bachao, Punjab Bachao’ will be launched in Moga on December 8 — the SAD (Badal) had already planned a rally in Moga on that day, the birthday of Chief Minister Badal.

An Akali leader said a Bill is likely to be introduced and passed by the assembly to tide over the crisis in view of the court order. The Bill, the leader said, is likely to underline that Punjab is already water-deficient and, therefore, not in a position to share water.

Asked about the Bill, Chief Minister Badal said: “Whatever we can do legally, we will do that.” He said the Punjab Advocate General has been told to study the legal aspects. “Whatever legal steps can be taken, Advocate General has been asked to study. Our job is to ensure… not let any water go out,” he said.

Badal and his son Sukhbir ruled out the possibility of Akali legislators resigning over the issue, saying this would lead to President’s rule which the Congress wanted.

The Chief Minister described Amarinder Singh’s resignation from Lok Sabha as “political drama”. Sukhbir Badal said: “I want to ask Captain, why (Congress MP Ravneet Singh) Bittu and other MPs of the party are not resigning. He (Amarinder) is fighting the assembly elections. It is all drama. First, he should make all party MPs resign over the issue. Second, he should quit Congress.”

The Chief Minister said it was Indira Gandhi who had come to Punjab to start digging of the canal and Amarinder Singh had then distributed ladoos.

The Punjab cabinet resolution Thursday too underlined that Indira Gandhi “forced the then Congress Chief Minister of Punjab, Darbara Singh, into signing an agreement to give away Punjab’s water to Haryana, forcing him to withdraw the Supreme Court cases filed by previous Chief Minister Sardar Parkash Singh Badal to protect Punjab river water interests.”

“This (Satluj water) is our lifeline. We cannot live without it. Wells are drying up, canal water is also very deficient. To save the country, no water should be taken from Punjab,” Badal said.

BJP minister Madan Mohan Mittal said the Punjab BJP was on the same page with the SAD on this issue despite there being a BJP government in Haryana.

The AAP also hit out at the Congress, questioning why only Amarinder Singh, and no other Congressman, had resigned. It described the resignations as “gimmickry”.

The Congress, on its part, asked AAP leader and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal to “make clear” his stand on the SYL issue.

Within minutes of the Supreme Court ruling, the Punjab Congress announced that all its MLAs would resign.

Speaking to reporters after mailing his resignation letter to the Lok Sabha Speaker, Amarinder Singh called for early elections and President’s rule in the state.

“I promise the people of Punjab that if voted to power, the Congress party will steer through and ensure the passing of such law to restore to the State of Punjab its rightful rights to the river waters,” he said.

But the reaction of the Congress in New Delhi was different from that of its Punjab unit. Lobbing the ball in the Centre’s court, the Congress hailed the Supreme Court order as a “victory of justice.”

“Mr Prime Minister, come clean in the eyes of justice. 2.5 crore people of Haryana are not begging but demanding their rights,” Congress spokesman Randeep Surjewala tweeted. He hails from Haryana. “A historic and path breaking verdict by Supreme Court upholds Haryana’s claim on SYL. Victory for people, justice for Haryana,” Surjewala said.

Congress leader Tom Vadakkan said the issue needs to be sorted out with dialogue, not monologue. “The ball is in the PM’s court. This involves two states where the BJP plays a prominent role. So we expect the PM to act,” he told reporters.

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  1. B
    Nov 11, 2016 at 8:17 am
    Too much of everything is good for nothing. Now same is clearly seen in the politics. Now it is felt that no regional political party can be useful/good to the betterment of country. These leaders are most selfish and narrow minded to do anything for the sake of their own betterment. If we want to live as Indian then first abolish the regional political party or forget the central idea and split the country like USSR. It is very difficult now to think a better India with these numerous regional parties. Most of the time and energy is going waste with the inner fighting and leg pulling drama. It is not the out side country it is the inside state bringing disaster to the country.
    1. S
      Nov 11, 2016 at 7:36 am
      Good time for Mr. Arun Jetely from Rajya sabha to lok sabha
      1. M
        Nov 11, 2016 at 7:21 am
        Haaaaaa !!!! My once lovely and peaceful country are now fighting over water !!!!! Like each state is a different country !!!!!! We becoming E Europe now !!!!! Serbs vs the croait !!!!!!!
        1. M
          Nov 11, 2016 at 4:18 am
          Ha ha ha Hindustan will stop Indus water to stan... or china must stop Indus (sutlej from Mount Kailash) Brahmaputra, ganges branch's waters to Hindustan.
          1. N
            Niladrinath Mohanty
            Nov 11, 2016 at 3:38 am
            The more I see this chap Sujewala the more dis-gusted I feel.
            1. C
              Nov 11, 2016 at 6:20 am
              J Nehru, unfortunately though, divided India on language basis- this has stopped India's integration after Independence- a convenient policy for the congress to divide and rule for 60-70 years. From then on, states, instead of positively competing, are fighting with each other on many issues. Politicians exploit this feeling to their advantage- a disadvantage for the country. Resources in India (All states) are India's resources- minerals, water, forest, heritage etc. Tippu Sultan is Indian like any other king of india. Any motives that any party attaches is their imagination. Kaveri river is indian river- irrigating and quenching thirst for karnataka and tamil nadu. people of karnataka and of tamil nadu are indians. they should get the same share as they were getting for centuries. One state's claim that it is theirs is wrong. A similar drama is going on on sutlej between punjab and haryana. let the resources be shared equally by all Indians for indias benefit.
              1. P
                parmjit sharmaa
                Nov 11, 2016 at 1:47 am
                When indra hi was the prime minister mr.amrinder singh was not in any political party.and how can distribute the laddos on diging syl canal by the smtdra hi.punjab aakali telling lie to the people and not givr the justice to hindu on the death of smt indra people killed in punjab by the sikh militant and live in golden temple.
                1. P
                  Pradip Agarwal
                  Nov 14, 2016 at 3:21 pm
                  instead of making syl canal political issue make canal from all five rivers in Punjab and utilized water resources in w Punjab and nearby states , more then 85 percent of these rivers are unused and flow to pak. make better indian .
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