AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sushil Gupta’s Remark over Satluj-Yamuna Water Heats Up Debate in Punjab

In a bind over the reported statement of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament (MP) over emotive Satluj-Yamuna Link canal issue, the Punjab government on Wednesday asserted “not a single drop of water from Punjab would be allowed to flow out to another state”.

AAP Haryana in-charge and Rajya Sabha MP Sushil Gupta said that “by 2025, there would be an AAP government in Haryana, which would ensure coordination with the AAP government in Punjab in construction of the SYL and its water to every field”, creating a furore in Punjab’s political circles.

The party on Wednesday got its finance minister Harpal Cheema and party spokesperson Malwinder Singh Kang to defend the government and deflect the onslaught on the opposition, saying Punjab was paying the price for the “misdemeanours during each party’s rule”.

In a video message, Cheema said Punjab has the sole right over its waters. “Not a single drop of water would be allowed to flow out. We are ready to make any sacrifice to preserve the riparian rights of Punjab. I am surprised that the parties that are now raising the issue are the ones that let the issue build up during their successive turns in the government. They know how to play politics on this sensitive issue. We are also making many groundwater conservation schemes and schemes to stop water pollution,” he said.

Punjab Congress Committee (PCC) president Amrinder Singh Raja Warring expressed apprehensions, saying: “With the dubious intentions of the AAP, which can go to any extent in pursuit of winning elections, Punjab’s water interests may be compromised. We have strong reasons to feel concerned that the Punjab government might compromise the state’s position and may not defend the case in the Supreme Court strongly.”

He asked AAP leader and Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann to spell out his stand in view of Gupta’s statement. CLP leader Partap Bajwa said Gupta’s statement showed a “fixed match between the AAP and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)”.

Terming Gupta’s statement shocking, senior Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Dr Daljit Singh Cheema said, “The Delhi MP, who is from Haryana, could have given such a guarantee only if he had been authorised to do so by AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal. The issue is whether the Punjab CM was in the loop. Mann should make his stand clear as Punjabis will never allow AAP to barter its core interests.”

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