Reiterating that as per the universally accepted Riparian Principle, Punjab was the “only rightful owner” of its river waters, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Tuesday said no other state had any right over it.
Addressing a Sangat Darshan gathering in Bucho Mandi Assembly segment here, he said river water was the state’s only natural resource and there was no question of sharing it with “any other state” as Punjab did not have “a single drop of excess water”.
Badal said the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) was ever ready to preserve the water of the state by making any sacrifice as it was the “lifeline” of Punjab.
He categorically said there was no need for the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal, adding that its construction “would not be allowed at any cost”.
In an attack on the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the veteran Akali leader alleged that the two were “conniving with each other to deprive the Punjabis of every single drop of water”.
He alleged that the Congress had divested the state of its rights by giving water to Rajasthan, Haryana and other states, adding that now, the AAP too had joined the Congress to “rob the state of its waters”.
Badal claimed that while the Congress had, in the past, signed various agreements to deprive Punjab of its waters, the AAP was now trying its level best to ensure that these agreements were implemented at the earliest. Describing state Congress chief Amarinder Singh’s resignation from the post of MP, in the aftermath of the Supreme Court verdict on river waters, as a “mere political stunt”, the chief minister dared him to explain why the other Congress MPs too had not resigned in a show of solidarity with the state at this hour of crisis.
Badal alleged that Amarinder’s resignation was aimed at “deriving political benefits from this sensitive issue, rather than safeguarding the interests of the state”.
He claimed that it was an “open secret” that Amarinder was desirous of contesting the upcoming state Assembly polls and that is why he had resigned from Lok Sabha on the pretext of the Supreme Court verdict “to mislead the people”.
“Captain (Amarinder) wants to attain the status of a martyr by smearing a drop of blood on his fingertip whereas, it is a fact that he was part and parcel of the sinister move to dig the SYL canal,” Badal added. Recalling the “grave conspiracy conceived by the Congress to divest the state of its legitimate share of river waters”, the Chief Minister held the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi responsible for Punjab’s crisis as she had “forced” the former Congress chief minister of the state Darbara Singh to sign an agreement to give waters to Haryana.
Assailing the AAP, Badal said it was a party with a “dual face”. He alleged that the AAP government in Delhi had submitted an affidavit in the Supreme Court against Punjab on the SYL issue, adding that disguised in the robe of the ‘aam aadmi’ (common man), the party was “working overtime” against the interests of the state.
Taking a dig at those leaving the SAD “for poll tickets from other parties”, Badal said these “fugitives” must learn a lesson from former state finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal, who had gone into “political oblivion” ever since he “ditched” the Akali Dal.