CHANDIGARH: All 42 Congress MLAs in Punjab submitted their resignations to the secretary of the state's Assembly today even as chief minister Parkash Singh Badal wrote to the president seeking time for a meeting to present Punjab's case on the Sutlej-Yamuna Link [SYL] canal dispute.
These political moves followed the Supreme Court verdict yesterday outlawing a state law that terminated all previous agreements on the project which involves sharing of river waters between Punjab and several of its neighbouring statesx.
Congress MLAs led by PCC president Amarinder Singh and other party bigwigs, handed over their resignations to the secretary of the Vidhan Sabha in the absence of the speaker.
An independent unattached MLA, Rajnish Babbi, was also present to tender his resignation.
Amrinder Singh said Congress MPs have been advised to stay their resignations in order to debate the SYL issue in Parliament.
Upping the ante on the SYL issue, the Congress today announced a campaign to skewer the Akal Dal-BJP government in the light of the Supreme Court verdict. Congress workers will burn effigies of chief minister Badal in all the 117 Assembly segments of the state on Saturday and on Sunday, there will be a rally at Abohar – which lies at the tail-end of the SYL canal – to highlight the Akalis' alleged mishandling of the case in court.
The task of organizing the rally has been given to PPCC vice-president Sunil Jakhar.
The party has also decided to seek a meeting with the President.
Amarinder Singh is keen to use the leverage provided by the Supreme Court to bid for a two-thirds majority in the elections next year. The party is plugging a hard line on the SYL isue, insisting that Haryana has no right to the Satluj river water. It also wants another tribunal to be set up to assess the amount of water available to Punjab.
Shiromani Akali Dal secretary-general Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa wondered that if the Punjab Congress was so aggrieved by the apex court's advisory to the President, why hadn't its Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs quit along with Assembly members?
Meanwhile, former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda of the Congress said that if the SAD-BJP government in Punjab continues to defy the orders of the apex court, the Union Government should dismiss the state government.