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Sukhbir Badal, other SAD leaders brave force and water cannons during protest in Chandigarh

SAD had given a call for protest on the issue of SYL

Chandigarh, October 10, 2023 (Yes Punjab News)
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) senior leadership and youth volunteers today braved force and water cannons unleashed by chief minister Bhagwant Mann in their bid to approach the latter’s residence to hold a debate on the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal as well as other burning issues concerning the State.

SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal led from the front and also addressed party workers on the road when the party leaders were prevented from approaching the chief minister’s residence. He said it was condemnable that the chief minister had chosen to flee Punjab rather than debate his betrayal on the SYL canal with the Shiromani Akali Dal.

Slogans of ‘bhaj gaya vi bhaj gaya’ echoed on the roads of Chandigarh even as the SAD president was addressing the congregation from atop a vehicle. Party workers placed an empty chair with the chief minister’s name on the vehicle to show how Bhagwant Mann had run away from the debate.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Sukhbir Badal said “the chief minister challenged me to a debate on the SYL which I accepted and even announced that I would come to his residence today to debate all facets of the case. I thought the chief minister will receive us in the same manner in which former CM Parkash Singh Badal used to meet protesters coming to his residence including Bhagwant Mann and the AAP leadership. But he chose to flee to Madhya Pradesh with Arvind Kejriwal rather than facing me and the SAD”.

Asserting that water was a natural resource for Punjab just like coal was that for Chhattisgarh and marble for Rajasthan, Mr Badal said “this resource has been taken away from us unilaterally by successive Congress governments from 1955 when half of our river waters was given to Rajasthan and then in 1976 when another half of the remaining water was given to Haryana. He said former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had tried to correct this injustice by filing a case in the apex court challenging Article 78 of the Reorganization Act which bestowed power to the central government to allocate water resources to the new States.

“However in 1981 former prime minister Indira Gandhi prevailed upon Darbara Singh to withdraw this case from the Supreme Court and agree to construction of the SYL canal which was subsequently ceremoniously inaugurated by Indira Gandhi in 1982”.

Asserting that AAP was following the line taken by the Congress party, Mr Badal said “AAP is readying to give more of the State’s river waters to Haryana and Rajasthan to derive political advantage in the forthcoming assembly elections”. He said the chief minister admitted as such during a hearing on the SYL case in the Supreme Court. The Punjab government expressed its willingness to give water to Haryana but for protests from the opposition and issue of acquisition of land for SYL whose land was returned back to farmers by S Parkash S Badal in 2016″.

Mr Badal also spoke about the unprecedented increase in drug menace and said this was because AAP MLA’s were taking monthlies from the drug mafia and preventing the State police from arresting kingpins involved in the drug trade. “Drugs is also the real reason behind the friction between the CM and the State Governor”, he said adding the Governor had told the chief minister that drugs were being sold in liquor vends in Ludhiana. “However when no action was taken in the matter the Governor informed the NCB which seized drugs being sold openly from 66 vends in Ludhiana”.

The SAD president also detailed how every section of society had been betrayed by the AAP government which had not fulfilled any of the promises made to Punjabis. He said the government had failed to fulfill its promise to give Rs 1,000 per month to all women in the State besides unemployment allowance and old age pension allowance of Rs 2,500 per month each, regularization of all contractual employees, revival of the old pension scheme, wiping out of the drug menace in ten days and an end to VVIP security culture.

Mr Badal also spoke on how the State’s finances were being frittered away in wasteful expenditure including Rs 750 crore being spent annually on advertisements and hiring of a jet aircraft for a period of six months to facilitate the election campaign of Arvind Kejriwal at a cost of Rs 120 crore from the State exchequer.

Senior leaders Balwinder Singh Bhundur, Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra and Dr Daljit Singh Cheema also spoke on the occasion even as others including Bikram Singh Majithia, Gulzar Singh Ranike, Hira Singh Gabria and Youth Akali Dal (YAD) president Sarabjit Singh Jhinjer participated in the event.

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