Chandigarh, Feb 15 (PTI) AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday refused to spell out his party’s stand on the Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal issue between Punjab and Haryana, but said doing politics over it will not benefit either of the states.
Kejriwal, whose party is trying to make an impact in the Punjab Assembly polls, was of the opinion that the matter between the two neighbours should be resolved either through court or through dialogue.
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“…If my stand helps resolve the issue, then I will do that in five minutes and you get it resolved,” the Delhi chief minister told reporters in Ludhiana when nudged for his take on the matter.
“This issue can be resolved either through court or through dialogue… “But before every poll, politics is done on this issue… Ask (chief minister) Khattar in Haryana for his stand and ask BJP in Punjab what their stand is and then put the same question to the Congress. Do we have to resolve the issue or do politics?” he said.
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Taking a dig at the rival parties, Kejriwal said when the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal issue turned into a politically sensitive one, there were several occasions when the same party or its allies were at the helm of affairs in Punjab, Haryana and the Centre. However, he said, they lacked the wherewithal to resolve the crisis.
“Over here (Punjab from 2002-07), there was Capt (Amarinder) Singh’s government and in Haryana, there was Congress (2005-09). Later, when there was SAD-BJP regime in Punjab, BJP-led governments ruled in Haryana and at the Centre. Why did they not resolve it then,” he sought to know.
“They say one thing in Haryana, another thing in Punjab, yet another thing at the Centre and something else before the Supreme Court,” he alleged.
Kejriwal said if voted to power in Punjab, AAP will safeguard the state’s interests and ensure it gets its due.
The SYL canal row has been a bone of contention between Punjab and Haryana for several decades.
In the past, Punjab had been demanding a reassessment of its share of the Ravi-Beas rivers water while Haryana had been seeking completion of the SYL canal to get its share of 3.5 million acre feet (MAF) of water.
In 2020, the then Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh had warned that it was an emotive issue and “Punjab will burn” if asked to share water.
Speaking about the Assembly polls, Kejriwal said as per his party’s survey, state Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu and Akali Dal leader Bikram Singh Majithia were “both losing from Amritsar East where our party candidate is winning”.
Earlier, the AAP chief had said that Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi will lose in both the constituencies he is contesting from.
Responding to allegations of the BJP leaders that the AAP dispensation had “drowned Delhi in liquor”, Kejriwal clarified that the number of liquor vends had not increased, but only evenly spread throughout the national capital.
“There were 850 liquor vends in Delhi earlier, but the problem was that many of them were concentrated in some areas whereas other areas were dry. Because of this, there was illegal sale of liquor. We wanted to stop that.
“Under the new excise policy, 846 vends have been sanctioned, four less than earlier. But what we have done is that we have spread all these vends evenly across Delhi. So far, only 550 vends have opened,” he said.
He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other senior BJP leaders had spoken on the issue, but they were “not getting public support”.
“They are making it a big issue. Had the Delhi people been unhappy, I would have taken action,” he said.
(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from Syndicated News feed, LatestLY Staff may not have modified or edited the content body)