Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday seemed to convey the impression that the decision that all Congress MPs and MLAs would resign in case the Supreme Court verdict on the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal did not come in favour of Punjab, was to counter the ‘morchas’ being planned by the ‘Badals’ in case of an adverse verdict and was a pre-emptive move to steal the thunder from the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) in the war over sensitive waters issue.
Answering a query by mediapersons on the sidelines of his ‘Halke Vich Captain’ programme in Dasuya, he said, “They (SAD) are readying panchayats for a confrontation to imperil the state. We will not allow them to do anything like that. When we form the government next year, we will take legal measures to safeguard Punjab’s interest as we did in 2004 by enacting the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act, 2004,” he said.
He said by announcing the resignation decision, he had neither challenged the authority of the apex court nor shown disrespect to the judicial system. “We respect the Supreme Court, but will never welcome a decision if it hurts the interests of the people of the state,” he said, adding at the same time that the court could set up yet another commission to sort out the issue.
Blaming chief minister Parkash Singh Badal for ‘compromising’ the interests of the state for own political gains, he alleged that Badal and his former Haryana counterpart Chaudhry Devi Lal had started the construction of the SYL canal and not the Congress. This, he said, was recorded in the proceedings of the Haryana Vidhan Sabha and was for anybody to see.
He said Badal and Devi Lal had reached an agreement that Haryana would pay Rs 5 crore to Punjab for the construction of the SYL of which Badal had accepted to pay Rs 2 crore. He said the Haryana government had made a statement to this affect in the Vidhan Sabha and it was very much on record.
‘Bhagwant Mann a gone case’
Asked if he endorsed Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MP Bhagwant Mann’s suggestion that all parliamentarians should undergo a dope test, Captain said he (Mann) was a ‘gone case’. “What to say about an alcoholic. It is difficult to pass by his seat in Parliament as he comes drunk,” he echoed what suspended AAP MP Harinder Singh Khalsa had said about Mann a few days ago.
Captain said that the Lok Sabha speaker had done just the right thing to set up a committee to probe if Mann had breached Parliament security by videographing it and putting it on the social media.
Amarinder also questioned the National Investigation Agency’s clean chit to superintendent of police (SP) Salwinder Singh, detained after the terrorist attack on the Pathankot airbase. He wondered why the NIA did not try to find out what the SP was doing in the forward areas and why had a diamond merchant gone along with him to that mysterious place at odd hours. He said the Congress had no competitor in Punjab. “Neither the SAD nor the AAP stand anywhere near us,” he claimed.
Winnability criterion for candidates
The PCC chief said winnability would be the only criterion for nominating candidates for the assembly elections, adding that the same criterion would be applicable to the sitting MLAs. “If we find that some sitting MLAs are not in a position to win, they will be replaced,” he said.
Fielding questions from the people of the Dasuya assembly segment, Amarinder declared that he would end the monopoly of ‘Badals’ and ‘Majithias’ on transport, sand mining and other businesses.