CHANIGARH: Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh today said that Delhi Chief Minister and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal's "much-delayed reaction" on the Sutlej-Yamuna-Link (SYL) canal issue was a bid to divert attention from the "crisis" in his party.
"The AAP leader's much-delayed reaction on the SYL issue is a clear bid to divert attention from the crisis reining in his party due to major revolts and widespread allegations of corruption," he said in a statement issued here.
Kejriwal, at Jagraon in Ludhiana yesterday, had accused the ruling SAD, and the Congress of "befooling and misguiding" people on the issue and held them responsible for constructing the canal.
Dubbing Kejriwal's late attempt to regain lost ground in Punjab as "irrelevant and meaningless", Amarinder said, "Now that his party has been plunged into an irrevocable mess with leaders, workers and volunteers quitting en masse, Kejriwal is looking for straws to grab in order to retain some semblance of a fight in the state."
Kejriwal's comments on SYL comes after four key AAP leaders joined the Congress and at least 150 volunteers quit the party.
The state Congress chief yesterday in Delhi welcomed AAP founding member and Punjab vice president C M Lakhanpal along with three leaders P K Sharma, Iqbal Pannu and Barpur Singh into the Congress fold.
Kejriwal chose to speak on the issue at this hour as his party is in "shambles and staring at imminent defeat in the upcoming Punjab Assembly elections", he claimed.
"The AAP leader's remarks on SYL is an electoral gimmick just like his promise to appoint a Dalit as Punjab's deputy chief minister when his own cabinet in Delhi does not have a Dalit face," Amarinder said.
"Why did it take Kejriwal a month to come out with a comment supporting Punjab in the SYL issue? Was it such a big riddle that it took him a month to solve or does his warped mind, which is busy weaving conspiracy theories, find it difficult to think about more critical and relevant issues?" he asked.
I had requested him to break his silence on SYL but he refused to respond, Amarinder claimed.
He alleged Kejriwal had made contradictory statements on SYL even before the Supreme Court gave its verdict by "speaking in favour of Punjab on one day and taking a stand for Haryana and Delhi on the next."
Punjab goes to polls early next year and AAP is eyeing to wrest power from the SAD-BJP alliance.
Earlier, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had slammed Kejriwal saying the Delhi government had a "hostile posture toward the state on the emotive SYL issue, which will not be tolerated".