Congress lawmakers should attend assembly session on water issue: Badal

Chandigarh, Nov 13 (IANS) Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Sunday said the 42 Congress legislators — who have since submitted their resignations from the assembly — must attend a one-day special assembly session to chalk out a concrete strategy to protect the state’s waters.

The Congress legislators in Punjab had, on November 11, submitted their resignations to protest a Supreme Court verdict on a presidential reference that said a 2004 law passed by the state assembly to end a water-sharing agreement was unconstitutional.

Badal told the media in Rakhra village in Patiala district that the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal was not a political issue but a matter involving the lifeline of Punjab.

“In the larger interest of Punjab, the Congress MLAs must ensure their presence during the special session. … a message be conveyed to the entire country that whole of Punjab is united on this emotive issue … A united house must resolve to protect the state’s waters at all cost.”

Badal said he will soon meet the President of India and apprise him of the depleting water level in Punjab.

He accused the Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) of indulging in political gimmickry on the river water issue.

“The Congress is the perpetrator of this sin against the state and its people. Likewise, the AAP government in Delhi had submitted an affidavit against the state in the Supreme Court on the issue. Both are now trying to mislead people,” Badal said.

“Any move to share Punjab’s river waters will be disastrous as it will ruin the state. While inking an agreement on the SYL canal, the then Congress government at the Centre completely overlooked the universally accepted Riparian Principle on river water sharing. Every Punjabi is duty-bound to oppose this move and all of us should pledge to protect Punjab’s waters,” the Chief Minister said.