AAP has taken people for a ride, using Punjab resources for expansion in other states: Congress

Partap Singh Bajwa alleged that the AAP government in Punjab reneged on its poll promises and called CM Bhagwant Mann a 'puppet on a string'.
Congress MLA Partap Singh Bajwa (Photo | ANI)
Congress MLA Partap Singh Bajwa (Photo | ANI)

CHANDIGARH: Congress leader Partap Singh Bajwa on Wednesday challenged AAP to clarify its stand on the SYL canal and accused it of using Punjab's resources to expand its footprint in other states. He alleged that the AAP government in Punjab reneged on its poll promises and called Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann a "puppet on a string", who is heading a government "being run from Delhi".

"AAP has taken people for a ride. They want to use (Punjab) as a springboard. They will use Punjab's resources, security and bureaucracy. They want to expand their footprint in HP, Haryana and Gujarat," said Bajwa, who is the Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly.

On the Sutlej-Yamuna link (SYL) canal, Bajwa asked AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal to clear its stand. Bajwa referred to a statement of AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sushil Gupta, who on Tuesday had said water from the SYL canal will reach Haryana's fields if his party comes to power in the state.

"I want to ask Kejriwal to make his stand clear on the statement of Gupta on the SYL issue," said Bajwa, adding that Gupta's statement was against the interests of Punjab. Bajwa also questioned the silence of AAP's five Rajya Sabha MPs over the SYL canal issue.

"Not even a single AAP MP has made a statement on the SYL issue so far. We do not have a single drop of water to share," asserted Bajwa, who is Punjab Congress legislature party leader. Meanwhile, Punjab Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema said not even a single drop of state's water be allowed to flow out of Punjab to other states.

"The AAP government will not allow even a single drop of water out of the state," said Cheema, accusing political rivals for playing politics over the issue. The SYL canal has been a bone of contention between Punjab and Haryana for several decades.

Punjab has been demanding a reassessment of its share of the Ravi-Beas rivers water while Haryana has been seeking completion of the canal to get its share of water. Bajwa also alleged that the Bhagwant Mann-led government in Punjab is "being run by AAP from Delhi". "It has started becoming clear that Bhagwant ji is a puppet on a string," alleged Bajwa.

The Qadian MLA further claimed that a woman from Delhi has been appointed by AAP to "oversee" the finance department in Punjab and asked CM Mann to clarify on this matter. "People of Punjab chose the government to function independently, not to function by proxy," said Bajwa.

He also raised the issue of a recent meeting between Kejriwal and state officers in Delhi and asked the AAP government in which capacity the officials were sent there. On Mann's statement that the officers were sent for training, Bajwa said it meant that they were not "competent". "This is a big question mark on the capability of officers," said Bajwa.

Referring to AAP's pre-poll promises, Bajwa said the AAP-led government had not yet given Rs 1,000 to all women. He questioned the AAP-government how it would raise resources to fulfil its poll promises.

Bajwa challenged the AAP government to raise even Rs 1,000 crore from sand mining and Rs 10,000 crore from liquor sector in the state. Bajwa also sought a white paper on electricity supply, demanding from the government how it would meet the demand for power in the farm and industrial sectors.

He said the demand at present is 9,000 MW while the state was generating 4,400 MW and pointed out that several power plants are facing coal shortage. "There is going to be a power crisis in Punjab," he claimed.

Bajwa sought to know from the state police chief whether a contingent of the Punjab Police commandos had been deployed for Kejriwal's security. With wheat growers reporting a drop in yield, Bajwa demanded Rs 500 per quintal as bonus to compensate affected farmers. He also sought release of Rs 800 crore of sugarcane dues.

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