Minutes after the Supreme Court announced its verdict on the controversial and long-pending issue of river water sharing, including the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal, Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh, whose government had passed the Termination of River Waters Act in 2004, resigned from his Lok Sabha seat, Amritsar. As announced by Amarinder earlier, all 42 party MLAs too quit their assembly seats in protest against the “injustice meted out to the people of the state”.
Later, reacting to the SAD-BJP government’s calling an emergency session of the assembly on November 16, he said the “Badals are now indulging in theatrics”.
“It’s too late for them to be thinking of ways and means to wriggle out of the situation that is of their own making. They plan to hold a special session of the assembly to pass a bill now when they had 10 years to resolve the issue. They also do not have the requisite 2/3rd majority to pass any such bill in the House,” he said.
Earlier, Amarinder has sent his resignation to Lok Sabha speaker and also sought a personal meeting next week. The party MLAs have also sent their resignations to the assembly speaker, and will meet him on Friday morning to personally hand over their papers.
In his resignation, Amarinder said he has decided to quit “as a mark of protest against the deprivation of the people of my state of the much-needed Sutlej river water.”
Amarinder also uploaded a video on Twitter saying:
My message to people of Punjab! I''m committed to safeguarding Punjab's waters. Have done it before,will do it again.Just need your support! pic.twitter.com/87y0VljO9o— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) November 10, 2016
Blaming the Akalis squarely for “bringing the people of Punjab to this pitiable situation, where they face imminent devastation due to acute water scarcity”, Amarinder said Badal and his team had “failed to defend Punjab’s stand in the court, leading to such disastrous consequences”.
‘KEJRIWAL SHOULD CLEAR STAND’
Amarinder also trained his guns on Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal and asked him to clarify his stand on the SYL canal issue in the wake of the Supreme Court verdict.
“Given the fact that he hails from Haryana and is the chief minister of Delhi, will Kejriwal allow the water from Punjab to be diverted to Haryana and Delhi, or will he stand by the people of Punjab in their hour of need? His flip-flop on the issue has exposed his lack of sincerity towards the interests of Punjab. It’s time he takes a clear and categorical stand,” he said.
Though Amarinder did not criticise the SC judgement saying the party accepts it as it is the law of the land, he was quick to add that he has sought a legal opinion and a government is empowered to enact a fresh legislation to remove the substratum or foundation of any judgment passed by a court of law with retrospective operation. “The party will go to the people over the issue. We will bring in a fresh act to protect Punjab’s interests after returning to power with two-thirds majority,” he added.
Till that happens, the party hopes to reap poll dividends from its aggressive posturing on the emotive issue.