Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann, who was in Mansa on Saturday to mobilise party workers for the upcoming Baisakhi rally, criticised the SAD-BJP government and the Congress for “playing politics” over the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal issue.
“Punjab doesn’t have enough water to spare for other states. Our blood will flow in the canal before they decide to release water into it. The Congress and SAD have no moral ground to raise the issue,” he said.
On being asked whether AAP convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal is attempting a recourse by removing counsel Suresh Tripathy for presenting a “wrong submission” in the case, Mann said the counsel was a Congress appointee and the AAP government was not taken into the loop before submitting the affidavit.
Mann said, “The Punjab government is trying to rake up the issue to gain political mileage as our stand is firm. We have removed the counsel as we were kept in the dark about the submission in the Supreme Court.”
Earlier in the day, Union minister for food processing and Bathinda MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal criticised Kejriwal for “doublespeak” over the SYL issue. She said the AAP is the B-team of the Congress and drew parallels between the emergence of the AAP and People’s Party of Punjab (PPP) alleging that both enjoyed the Congress support. “The Congress created the PPP during the 2012 assembly elections to divide votes and now have created the AAP with the same motive.”
She also criticised Kejriwal for being “autocratic and for suppressing dissent” in the AAP.
Mann said it is not the AAP but the SAD that had a secret deal with the Congress for the upcoming elections. “We don’t see the Congress as a threat in these elections. Our criticism of the Congress will only give it some credibility and there will be a division of vote share that will only benefit the ruling alliance,” Mann said.
Mann also defended the expulsion of Jassi Jasraj saying “We cannot tolerate indiscipline in the party and will deal with it strictly.”