From newspapers to streets, the Punjab government took on the Congress for the SYL ‘mess’ after Congress MLAs submitted their resignations following the decision of the Supreme Court.
After returning the SYL land to farmers as a ‘gift’, the state government has put up hoardings all over SAS Nagar. All important traffic light points have a hoarding blaming the Congress for the Satluj-Yamuna Link fiasco.
The hoardings carry the picture of the then prime minister Indira Gandhi, who had inaugurated the SYL canal at Kapoori (Patiala) on April 8, 1982, being welcomed by Punjab Congress chief Captain Amarinder Singh.
The hoardings put up by Shiromani Akali Dal blames the Captain for compromising with the interests of the state and said it was he who had not only invited Gandhi but also handed over the silver harrow to mark the beginning of the SYL canal in 1982
Congress MLAs had resigned to register their protest after the SC decision on the SYL issue in favour of Haryana blaming Akalis for failing to protect the interests of the state.
To counter their move in the wake of the assembly polls, the SAD government has taken to blaming the Congress for the issue. The hoardings also prominently displayed newspaper cuttings of 1982 depicting chief minister Parkash Singh Badal opposing the move in 1982.
The hoardings have a statement by Badal saying he was ready for any sacrifice and said the SYL was never required and he wouldn’t allow the same.
Intend to make people aware: SAD
Akali spokesperson Daljeet Singh Cheema said, “Through these hoardings, we only intend to create awareness among residents on the issue of SYL which is important for the state. There are many political parties that are misleading people thus it is the duty of the government to bring clarity and create awareness among the residents.”
Drama for votes: Congress
“It is nothing more than drama for votes. The SAD is just trying to cover up their misdeeds with these advertisements to mislead people. Congress was against the SYL and will always oppose any move compromising the interests of the state,” said MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu, who is also the district Congress president. Sidhu in turn accused Badal of compromising with the interests of Punjab.
He alleged ‘in 1978 when Badal was the Punjab CM and Devi Lal was Haryana CM of Haryana, he took `2 crore from Lal, who was close to him, for acquiring and the construction of SYL’. He questioned why he wasn’t talking about that?
“Captain Amarinder, when he was CM in 2004, had made the decision in the interest of the farmers of Punjab by rejecting the SYL canal in the Punjab assembly. What sacrifice is he talking of now? Why did he (Parkash Singh Badal) not talk of sacrifice when he sold the interests of the state to Haryana?” asked Sidhu.
Hoardings violate advertisement rules
The hoardings blaming Congress are put up on busy traffic light points in SAS Nagar. These hoardings are in violation of advertisement bylaws of the municipal corporation.
“These hoardings are a blatant misuse of power and violation of not just the advertisement rules but also Punjab and Haryana high court directions that had restrained putting up hoardings on traffic light points, saying these could be a distraction for commuters. Apart from this, these hoardings are defacing the town,” said MC councilor Kuljeet Singh Bedi.
“I will have to get it checked and in case they are violating any bylaws, we will get them removed,” said MC commissioner Rajesh Dhiman.