Chandigarh: Punjab Congress chief AmarinderSingh today said the party’s state unit leaders, including MPs, will meet President Pranab Mukherjee in connection with the SYL issue and accused the SAD government of failing to protect the state’s interest.
He questioned the right of Haryana over Ravi and Beas river water and demanded that a tribunal must be set up to assess the availability of water with Punjab before taking any decision on this matter.
“We are going to ask for time to meet President and we will apprise him of situation. The President knows everything (about the issue)…we will present him a memorandum,” Amarinder said after all Congress MLAs submitted their resignation letters to Punjab Assembly Secretary here today.
In a huge setback to the Akali Dal government in poll-bound Punjab, the Supreme Court yesterday thwarted its attempt to wriggle out of the SYL canal water sharing agreement, saying it cannot “unilaterally” terminate it or legislate to “nullify” the verdict of the highest court.
Asserting that sharing of Ravi-Beas water is going to affect the lives of millions of Punjabis, Amarinder said, “It is essential that before any decision is taken on the quantum of water, a tribunal must be set up to find out what amount of water available.”
Questioning the right of Haryana over the share in Ravi -Beas river water, he said, “If they claim SYL water then we can claim share in Yamuna water. There is 5.5 MAF of Yamuna water and we never claimed it as Punjab is not riparian to that water after the reorganisation in 1966.”
On Khaps in Haryana have reportedly threatened to cut off Punjab from Delhi if the apex court ruling is not implemented, Amarinder said, “What right do they (Haryana) have? They are not riparian. If they think they want to pressurise through Khap we are not gong to be pressurised.” Hitting out at the SAD-BJP rule, Amarinder alleged that the Parkash Singh Badal-led state government has failed to protect the interest of the state and claimed had SAD been serious on water sharing issue, Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal and others MPs should have tendered their resignations.
“If they are so concerned about the impact of the SYL verdict on Punjab why have the Akali MPs not resigned from their parliamentary seats?” he asked and said, “Till they do so (resign), they really have no face to make allegations against others.”
On whether the Congress MLAs will attend the special session on November 16 called by Punjab Cabinet over SYL issue, he said, “Once the resignation is given, the matter is over. It is up to the Speaker to accept it. We have nothing to do with the Assembly session. We will go to the people.”
Amarinder also said that if Congress comes to power in Punjab, it will use “constitutional powers to amend and nullify the decision of the apex court”. Claiming that the Badals were clearly left “panic-stricken” and on the back foot by the Supreme Court judgement on SYL and because of their “own laxity” in the matter, the Punjab Congress chief claimed, SAD is “blindly shooting in the dark with all kinds of groundless charges”.
Amarinder said that he had received resignation letters from all MPs in the state yesterday, but, in the interest of the SYL matter, he decided not to forward those to the authorities concerned.He made it clear that he has advised the MPs to stay put in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, in order to fight for the rights of the people of Punjab in the House.
Ambika Soni confirmed that she and the others MPs had given their resignation letters to Amarinder and said, “We have all been told to fight for the cause of Punjab in Parliament.”Amarinder accused at Punjab government of “selling off” the interests of the people of the state to “promote” their vested interests.
Now, they (Badals) are trying to divert public attention from their “gross failure by making baseless charges” against Congress, he alleged.Amarinder also questioned AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal’s “continued silence” on the SYL issue.”Why this sudden and strange silence, Kejriwal? Tell us clearly, are you with Punjab or with Haryana and Delhi on the SYL issue. Will you, or will you not, allow Punjab’s water to go to Haryana and Delhi,” he asked.
The Punjab Congress chief also asked the Delhi Chief Minister to come clean on whether or not he intends to stand by the people of Punjab “in this hour of need”.
The Punjab Congress chief said the Kejriwal government in Delhi had, in fact, filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court supporting Haryana in SYL issue, but eyeing the Punjab polls, his government later went back on its stand, claiming the affidavit was a technical error.
“Kejriwal’s flip flop on SYL clearly indicates his lack of sincerity towards the interests of Punjab. The dual games he is perpetually trying to play on all critical issues won’t be accepted by people,” Amarinder said.
He pointed out that the AAP national convener had failed” to clarify his stand on other important issues pending between Punjab and Haryana, such as transfer of Chandigarh and Punjabi speaking areas. PTI
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