Punjab govt stand on SYL row puts Haryana AAP unit in spot - Hindustan Times
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Punjab govt stand on SYL row puts Haryana AAP unit in spot

Oct 06, 2023 03:58 PM IST

Haryana AAP leader Sushil Gupta shifts onus on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, says two states cannot share water if there is shortage and Centre can’t remain silent spectator

The Bhagwant Mann-led Aam Aadmi Party government’s stand that Punjab does not have a drop of water to spare for any state after the Supreme Court direction to the Centre in the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal dispute has put the AAP’s Haryana unit in a fix ahead of next year’s elections.

Haryana AAP leader Sushil Gupta has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene and help in resolving the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal dispute with Punjab. (HT file photo)
Haryana AAP leader Sushil Gupta has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene and help in resolving the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal dispute with Punjab. (HT file photo)

Also read: Guest Column: How the ground for SYL was permanently removed

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Struggling to find its feet in the state, the Haryana AAP leadership tried to shift the onus on the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “The SYL canal is not the issue, the main issue is sufficient water. Every field of Haryana and Punjab should have access to water. Two states cannot share water if there is already shortage. In such a situation, the Centre cannot remain a silent spectator,” said Sushil Gupta, the president of the Haryana AAP.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court had ordered the Centre to carry out a survey on a portion of land in Punjab meant for the construction of the SYL Canal, according to a 2002 court decree. The court was hearing a suit filed by Haryana, which is seeking the execution of a top court verdict of January 15, 2002, that directed Punjab to construct the canal.

“In 2014, while addressing an election rally in Rewari, one of the rain-fed districts of Haryana, Modi had announced that if he (voted to power), he will the stop the flow of water going to Pakistan and will bring it to irrigate parched areas of Haryana, Rajasthan and Punjab. But not a single step has been taken yet even as Modi has completed nine years in office,” Gupta said.

Kejriwal can help but Centre should decide

The Rajya Sabha MP said, “Now the Prime Minister should come up with a solution. (AAP leader and Delhi CM Arvind) Kejriwal had offered to help the PM to find a solution, if he needs it. Since the Centre controls distribution of water among states, if anyone is getting more than its share, it should also be disclosed by the Centre,” he said, adding the Centre should also share if Punjab is using Haryana’s share instead of making this a political issue.

AAP’s campaign committee chairman Ashok Tanwar also tried to push the ball in the Centre’s court when journalists cited Mann’s stand. “It is our right. We want the SYL Canal constructed and Haryana should get its legitimate share. The Supreme Court has passed an order on this issue but it is the responsibility of the Union government and the Prime Minister to intervene and ensure the compliance of the order,” Tanwar said at a press conference in Chandigarh.

‘Strike balance like Congress did’

Political observers believe the timing of the Supreme Court order directing the Centre to look into the mediation process over the SYL Canal dispute is crucial. “Like several parties of Punjab in the past, the AAP could milk this issue in the next elections there, but it could jeopardise AAP’s political prospects in neighbouring Haryana,” said political observer and retired professor Ramji Lal.

Since the Shiromani Akali Dal did not have any political base in Haryana, it had a clear agenda on the issue, but the AAP would have to adopt a new strategy to strike a balance in its politics in Haryana and Punjab like the Congress did for years, he added.

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