SYL Canal: Punjab calls emergency Assembly session on Nov 16

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Work in progress on the SYL canal
Work in progress on the SYL canal

While the Punjab cabinet convened an emergency Assembly session on November 16 after the SC struck down the Punjab water sharing agreement calling it illegal, all political parties—SAD (Badal), Congress, AAP—outdid each other in protesting against the court order.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on November 11 likened the Satluj-Yamuna Link Canal as death knell for Punjab, even as state unit chief Captain Amarinder Singh resigned as a member of Lok Sabha in protest. He said the resignation of remaining Congress MLAs would follow on November 11.

A delegation of the ruling party will also call on President Pranab Mukherjee to plead their case.

It may be noted the Supreme Court (SC) had negated all four questions referred to it by then President APJ Abdul Kalam on validity of the law passed by Captain Amarinder Singh-led Punjab government and and terminated the three-decade-old water sharing pact.

While this was so, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said it would not allow the implementation of the verdict if it came to power in the poll-bound Punjab.

As per latest media reports, all Punjab Opposition Congress MLAs on November 11 resigned in protest against the SC’s ruling favouring Haryana on the SYL issue.

The Captain in a fresh attack on the Chief Minister, alleged that Badal has “failed to protect the interest” of the people and announced his party will take out a protest ally on the issue on November 13.

In view of the court order, an Akali leader said a Bill may be introduced and passed by the assembly to circumvent the crisis. The bill is likely to underline that Punjab is water-deficient and hence not in a position to give or share water, he said.

Asked about the bill, Parkash Badal said: “We will do whatever we can legally.”

While the Punjab Advocate General is studying the legal aspects, Badal said, “He has been asked to study what legal steps we can take. Our job is not let any water go out of Punjab.”

Badal and his son Sukhbir said that no SAD legislator would resign over the issue, resulting in President’s rule. The CM said Amarinder’s resignation was more of a gimmick. Just as he had predicted, the Captain after sending his resignation to the LS Speaker, called for early elections and President’s rule in Punjab.

An irate Deputy CM asked, why did Ravneet Bittu and other MPs not resigning. It’s all a drama. Firstly, the Captain should make all party MPs resign and he quit the Congress.”

It was former premier Indira Gandhi who came to Punjab for starting the canal and then, the Captain had distributed ladoos.

BJP minister MM Mittal said the party agrees with SAD despite there being a BJP government in Haryana.

Meanwhile, the reaction of the Congress in New Delhi was different from the Punjab unit. Welcoming the SC order, the top leadership said that it was as a victory of justice.