Though the Congress high command is yet to name the chief ministerial candidate in Punjab, senior party leaders on Sunday projected Captain Amarinder Singh as the party’s nominee for the top post ahead of the assembly elections.
The move comes two days after the state Congress chief resigned from the Lok Sabha following the Supreme Court verdict striking down the Punjab law on the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal.
Addressing a gathering at a rally organised by Abohar MLA and state Congress vice-president Sunil Jakhar at Khuian Sarwar village —the tail-end of canal network in Punjab —on Sunday, Congress leader Manpreet Badal, who joined the party in January this year, declared Amarinder as the party’s CM candidate. Other party leaders, including former ministers and MLAs, also echoed Manpreet’s views. Indian Youth Congress president Amarinder Singh Raja Warring even asked Amarinder to name Jakhar as the deputy CM candidate.
The Congress leaders also reminded the people that it was the Congress government led by Amarinder that enacted the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act, 2004.
Addressing the gathering, Amarinder vowed to protect the last drop of Punjab’s water. “When we resigned, we decided to sit at the tail end of Punjab canals where water does not reach. And we are here among you and for you,” Amarinder conveyed to the crowds, who hailed from the dry regions of three assembly segments — Abohar, Balluana and Fazilka.
Hitting out at the Parkash Singh Badal government over the SYL canal, Amarinder said: “The state government’s move to hold the assembly session for annulling Clause 5 of the Termination of Agreements Act would create disturbance in Punjab.”
Addressing the gathering Jakhar said: “Stopping the water flow to Haryana and Rajasthan is not our purpose, but Badal is playing with the emotions of the people and trying to create disturbance by giving sweeping statements for annulling Clause 5 of the Termination of Agreements Act, which means stopping water to these states.”
Rajya Sabha member and former state Congress chief Partap Singh Bajwa and senior party leader Rajinder Kaur Bhattal gave the rally a miss. Those who attended the event included Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Rana Sodhi, Mohammad Sadique, Harpartap Singh Ajnala, Inderbir Singh Bolaria and Inderjit Singh Zira, all close confidents of Amarinder.