An emergency session of the Punjab assembly has been convened on November 16 in light of the Supreme Court’s verdict on the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal project. The announcement was made by deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal at a press conference on Thursday evening after a cabinet meeting.
“We have passed a resolution declaring that not a single drop of water from Punjab rivers would be allowed to go out of the state,” Sukhbir Badal told reporters following an emergency meeting of the Punjab government’s cabinet. The deputy CM also said that he has asked the state advocate-general to find out ways to legally challenge SC’s water-sharing verdict.
Both Sukhbir and his father, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, concluded the press conference by thumping the table three times, saying, thrice, “We will not give Punjab’s water to anyone.”
Earlier on Thursday, the Supreme Court had ruled that the SYL canal, which is at the centre of a row between Punjab and Haryana, has to be completed. It also said the state’s 2004 law scrapping water-sharing agreements with other states is unconstitutional. A constitution bench of the court ruled that Punjab could not have taken a “unilateral” decision to terminate the agreement with Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi and Chandigarh to share of the Ravi-Beas river waters.
But Sukhbir Badal said the govt would not allow the project to go ahead. “A decision taken at an emergency meeting of Punjab cabinet said that the Govt would not allow Sutlej-Yamuna Link to be built at any cost nor a single brick would be allowed to be laid for its construction by any agency,” he said.
CM Badal said the SAD-BJP govt will not resign over the Supreme Court’s verdict.
“I will not resign. It will lead to Governor’s rule, clearing the way for implementation of Supreme Court order,” Prakash Singh Badal said. “Haryanvis are our brothers, but we have to take a stand for Punjab, it’s our duty,” the Punjab CM said during the press conference.
Following the Supreme Court ruling on Thursday, Punjab plunged into a political crisis.
Congress Punjab unit chief Amarinder Singh demanded imposition of President’s Rule in the state and said he will resign as MP . All Punjab Congress MLAs announced they will resign in protest.
The party MLAs also sent their resignations to the Speaker, Punjab Assembly, and will meet him on Friday morning to personally hand over their papers.
Amarinder, who is also former Punjab chief minister, sent his resignation to the Lok Sabha Speaker, copy of which was released to the media, and has also sought a personal meeting with the Speaker next week.
“Let there be elections in December,” Singh said after sending his resignation from the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat.
“We will go to the people over this issue,” he said in a statement, adding, “Having failed to safeguard the interests of the people of Punjab, Badal will now try to cause trouble, and so, the sooner he is out of power, the better for the state.”
But the Punjab CM said the Congress resignation is just a drama. “Our main aim is to not let the water go, and we will do anything for that,” he said.
Just minutes before the Supreme Court struck down the 2004 Punjab law Sukhbir had said his govt “will not allow” the Centre to implement the order.
“Whether it is the Union government or Iraqi government or the American government, if anyone comes to snatch our water, we will not let them enter Punjab to implement orders against Punjabis,” Sukhbir had said while talking to reporters in Adampur.