On Baisakhi, Kejriwal in firing line of Akalis, Congress

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Chandigarh, April 13 (IANS) The ruling Shiromani Akali Dal and opposition Congress on Wednesday lambasted Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for allegedly taking contradictory stands on important issues concerning Punjab.

The attacks on Kejriwal, who is also Aam Aadmi Party convenor, came at the political conferences the two parties organised on harvest festival Baisakhi at the Takht Damdama Sahib in Talwandi Sabo in Bathinda district.

Kejriwal did not attend AAP’s political conference at Talwandi Sabo.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal accused the AAP and Congress leaders of double-speak on the Sutlej Yamuna Link canal and inter-state water-sharing issue.

He said the ruling Akali Dal will do anything to stop sharing of more water with other states.

Terming the SYL canal construction as a “death warrant” for Punjab, Badal said: “Punjab has not a single drop of water to share with other states. The Congress has divested the state of its rights by giving water to Rajasthan, Haryana and other states by signing various water agreements. The AAP is now making desperate attempts to get the SYL canal constructed.”

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Union minister and Akali Dal’s Bathinda parliamentarian Harsimrat Kaur Badal accused Kejriwal of running away from attending his party’s political conference.

“He had no answer as to why he betrayed Punjab farmers by siding with Haryana on the SYL canal issue. It could be the only reason for him giving the Baisakhi political conference a miss. He earlier attended the Maghi mela and was till recently visiting Punjab on every given opportunity. He had even announced he would make an important announcement on Baisakhi,” she said.

Accusing Kejriwal of double-speak, Harsimrat Kaur said he should tell whether he would file a pro-Punjab affidavit in the Supreme Court on the SYL issue or continue to play politics on the sensitive matter.

Addressing the party’s political conference, Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh appealed to the Supreme Court to “look into the ground realities and assess the water availability in Punjab’s rivers before pronouncing their judgment on the SYL issue”.

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He said the “ground realities had changed since 1950s and the water levels gone down and hence Punjab could not spare any more water for other states”.

“In 1955, the total availability of water in Punjab’s rivers was 15.8 million acre feet; it has come down to 13 MAF now. Punjab itself is water-deficient; how can it afford water for others?” he asked.

Amarinder Singh said that in case of adverse judgment against Punjab on the SYL issue, he will resign from parliament and fight Punjab’s battle for saving its water.

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