Chandigarh: The Supreme Court’s verdict on the Satluj-Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal could not have come at a better time for the two mainstream political parties-the Congress and the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-as Punjab is scheduled to go to the polls, nearly three months from now.
Both the parties have started the blame game against each other.
SAD patron Parkash Singh Badal, claimed that the government would take all legal remedies to save Punjab waters after holding an emergency Cabinet meeting. Both the parties seem to have made the SYL Canal water, a poll issue.
Punjab Congress led by state president Captain Amarinder Singh has blamed the Chief Minister for not handling the case properly in the Supreme Court (SC).
Capt Amarinder has been trying to claim the credit for the Termination of Water Sharing Agreements Act, 2004, which he got enacted during his tenure. The SC has reversed the act. Capt Amarinder has been claiming that by virtue of the ‘Termination Act’, Punjab could save the water for 12 years and now the onus was on Badal to defend Punjab’s case in the apex court.
The PPCC president had announced well in advance that he along with all the party MLAs will resign in case the verdict went against Punjab. Apparently, he had anticipated a reverse order and he tried his best to make good political capital out of it.
However, it is difficult to conclude that it will yield the party any real political dividends since the Vidhan Sabha elections in any case are scheduled soon.
Badal on his part has tried to outwit his arch rival by not resigning. In case Badal had also decided to resign, it would mean imposition of President’s Rule automatically. Nobody in his position would do that as it would mean holding elections under President’s Rule.
Given his vast experience, Badal knows it too well that no issue survives that long and for three months. He has survived Bargadi and Moga bus incidents.
Compared to that the SC verdict, Badal can easily handle with the argument that he, for that matter anyone else, has little say over the Apex court’s verdict.
The BJP will remain least concerned and least bothered about the verdict since its base remains restricted in urban areas only.
The most difficult situation is that of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which has its base predominantly in Malwa region. It cannot take a pro-Punjab stand and antagonise Haryana from where most of its drinking water comes.
At the same time it cannot afford to keep quiet. The AAP-led Delhi government already committed a political blunder by submitting an affidavit in Delhi High Court supporting Haryana’s claim. It just cannot say one thing in Punjab and another thing in Delhi and party convener Arvind Kejriwal has already committed this mistake earlier.
However, Congress can afford the same luxury taking two different and divergent stands in two different states. While Haryana Congress is defending state’s position over the SYL, Punjab Congress is defending Punjab’s position.
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