Haryana Assembly’s Budget Session is starting from Monday. It is going to be all stormy. SYL and Jat quota stir look all set to dominate the House like anything. Principal opposition party-Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) seems all prepared to raise the two vital issues, plaguing the state, quite vigorously in the House. INLD is not happy with the functioning of Manohar Lal Khattar led BJP government in the state so far as the handling of SYL and Jat quota issues is concerned. INLD leaders wanted the Chief Minister to seek an appointment with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss SYL issue, but Khattar could not manage to oblige them as the PMO is believed to have advised the CMO not to persist with the request for appointment with Modi as the SYL matter is sub-judice. Since authentic details are not in the public domain in this regard, one presumes that whatever is doing rounds in the corridors of power is close to reality. So far as Jat quota stir is concerned, the INLD has accused the state government of being non-serious in addressing their woes. The party has expressed its solidarity with agitating Jats, who have threatened to intensify their stir if their demands are not met. They have multiple demands including the withdrawal of cases against those who were accused of fomenting troubles in February last year during quota stir, which claimed 30 lives and caused huge damage to private and public properties. It remains to be seen how the government manages opposition parties during the Budget Session so that other important businesses are conducted smoothly.
Jats in the state on Sunday observed the day as Black Day for which the state government had put in place in tight security. Police forces were on special alerts in various districts including Rohtak, Sonepat, Jhajjar and Bhiwani districts. Paramilitary forces also kept a vigil at many places. The community members wore black attire, turbans, caps, ribbons and arm bands to protest against the state government not accepting their demands, including reservation and withdrawal of cases against the protesters in connection with the last year’s quota agitation. At many sit-in sites, the women protesters brought sewing machines and black cloth with them to prepare ribbons, arm bands and scarves. Adequate police force has been deployed at vulnerable points to ensure that normal life was not disrupted and all essential services continue uninterrupted in the state. Internet services had been suspended at some sensitive places including Rohtak and Sonipat. The state government is in a Catch-22 situation over Jat quota issue. The matter is sub-judice and the state government cannot do anything till the court order is not delivered on the matter. Similarly, the release of those jailed during last year’s agitation and withdrawal of cases slapped during the protest involves legal risk. Even if the state government withdraws the cases and release those jailed by setting an unprecedented example, there is no guarantee that the courts will not take note of the decision.
Regarding the construction of SYL issue, the state government is playing safe with the recent Supreme Court observation that the canal has to be constructed. Recently when in Rewari, Chief Minister Khattar appealed to the leaders of Opposition parties not to politicise SYL issue, saying everyone had fought together for the construction of the canal. He has expressed the hope that the Supreme Court would deliver its judgement in favour of Haryana on March 2. Satluj Yamuna Link (SYL) is a proposed 214-km long canal to connect Sutlej and Yamuna rivers. Since it relates to water sharing between Punjab and Haryana, the two states have been fighting over it and the matter is now before the Supreme Court. Chief Minister Khattar also reiterated the state government’s resolve towards supplying water to the tail-ends in southern Haryana, which is water-starved area of the state. As usual, Khattar also indulged in self-appreciation by listing various steps taken for the welfare of farmers, including the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana. He also claimed that the previous governments had failed to adequately compensate the farmers for their losses, but the present government had provided relief to them by disbursing Rs 2,400 crore as compensation during its two-year tenure. Giving money is a wonderful thing which every government loves to do. The current regime is also not an exception!