Punjab’s ruling party, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), will hold protest rallies on April 12 across the state to “unmask the doublespeak” of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on the tricky Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal dispute.
AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal, who is making a determined bid to spread the party base and its popularity in Punjab in the run-up to the assembly elections, on Friday was left red-faced when a Delhi government lawyer filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court backing Haryana’s contentions on the issue.
The water dispute is before the apex court, which is holding hearings on the Presidential reference about the validity of the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act, 2004.
Though the Kejriwal government fired its lawyer for making “unauthorised” submissions, it has given an ammunition to the Akali Dal, which is trying to reap a rich political harvest on the SYL issue after passing a Bill in the Vidhan Sabha to de-notify and return the land acquired for the SYL construction over three decades ago to its owners.
“How can a lawyer file an affidavit in the court without instructions from the state government?” SAD spokesperson and education minister Daljit Singh Cheema said, urging the party rank and file to participate in huge numbers in the protest rallies.
“It is necessary to expose him (Kejriwal) publicly for the anti-Punjab stand in the Supreme Court and his efforts to demolish the historical piao at Gurdwara Sis Ganj in Delhi,” Cheema added.
All Akali Dal leaders, including MPs, MLAs and SGPC members, and workers will participate in protest rallies which will be held at district headquarters at 11 am.
“The decision of the Kejriwal government to file an affidavit supporting Haryana and strongly opposing Punjab’s stand on the SYL canal has exposed the anti-Punjab face of Kejriwal. By doing so he has betrayed the people of Punjab,” the SAD leader said in a statement.
Accusing Kejriwal of “doublespeak” on Punjab issues, the education minister said Kejriwal opposed the construction of the SYL canal when he was in Punjab, but spoke in favour of water for all when in Delhi.
“After getting the affidavit filed and bringing everything on record, now the blame is being put on the lawyer to befool the public in Kejriwal style,” Cheema said.
Harsimrat also slams Kejriwal
Union food processing minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Saturday said the SAD would not allow Arvind Kejriwal to continue with doublespeak. “He will have to spell out his stand (on SYL canal) or stand exposed as a master of doublespeak. No lawyer can take such a stand without getting directions from the government. Blaming the lawyer will not undo the betrayal perpetrated on the farmers of Punjab,” she said.