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‘Punjab doesn’t have a single drop of water to share with Haryana’

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, who addressed more than 50 public meetings in Haryana and Punjab (for bypolls), speaks with The Indian Express.

Written by Raakhi Jagga |
October 20, 2019 2:26:32 am
haryana elections, Jalalabad, elections news, latest news, indian express SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal at North Block to meet Home Minister Amit Shah. (Express Photo by Renuka Puri)

How confident are you of the bypoll results in Punjab?

We are winning all the seats. People don’t like the chief minister (Capt Amarinder Singh) and are set to send him a signal of what is going to happen after two years (2022 Assembly polls). The Punjab government is trying to misuse its machinery. It is trying to overpower the Akali workers, but let me tell one thing, Akali Dal is not a party, which will relent under such pressure. Our Gurus taught us ‘don’t do injustice to anyone and don’t even tolerate the same’. These bypolls will set the tone for 2022 assembly polls in Punjab and we are going to form the next government in Punjab, with a thumping majority.

You have diametrically opposite equations with BJP in Punjab and Haryana. What do you have to say about it?

The SAD-BJP alliance in Punjab is decades old…an example of communal harmony… I repeat that we all will grow old but this alliance will always remain young. Our alliance in Punjab has no comparison with our alliance in any other state. Though in Haryana, there was a fresh start with BJP as they themselves asked for support. But things couldn’t work out due to a series of incidents, which have already been reported in media. However, there is nothing to feel surprised about in Haryana as there we are contesting in alliance with our old partner.

You said that BJP in Haryana asked for support, but Haryana CM has said that Shiromani Akali Dal kept reaching out to them repeatedly. What do you have to say about it?

I don’t want to comment on the statements of Haryana CM as he is a very senior politician.

INLD general secretary Abhay Chautala has said that SAD has agreed to abide by the court’s decision on Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal issue. The two parties have had different stand on the issue based on the priority for their respective states. What is your stand now?

First of all the Congress and the BJP need to be asked about their stand on this issue. Later, the Akali Dal will also express its stand. However, I am not aware of Abhay Chautala giving such statement. I am hearing about it from you only. Until he says so in the public, I am not going to comment on it. But at the same time, my stand on the SYL issue is very clear as is the stand of the Akali Dal that Punjab does not have even a single drop of water to share with Haryana. We are already facing scarcity of water and hence it cannot be shared with anyone.

Next year, Akali Dal will complete 100 years. It is the oldest political party in the country. Do you have any plans to expand it as national party?

Apart from Punjab, we already have elected representatives in Delhi. One of our candidates had won the 2014 assembly polls from Haryana too. We are a party representing the Punjabis and they have faith in us. Hence apart from Punjab, we are expanding in Punjabi population dominated areas in other states as well. The party will decide in due course where else to expand wings.

In some public meetings, you stated that earlier it was deputy CM’s flag but in 2022 the full flag will be there. Are you the CM face of the party now?

This is for the party leadership to decide. I am no one to decide on that front. In public meetings, I had mentioned on the context that full flag of “panth” will be there in 2022 and we will be forming our government in Punjab.

But Badal senior had said during Lok Sabha polls that he will not be contesting any polls now.

Again, I want to repeat that this is for the party’s entire leadership to decide as to who will contest polls and who will not. But one thing is clear that we are forming our government in 2022 and that too with a thumping majority.

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