42 Congress MLAs resign from Punjab Assembly over SYL verdict

Senior Congress leaders, including Partap Singh Bajwa and Ambika Soni accompanied the MLAs.
Capt Amarinder Singh : Punjab Congress president

Protesting the Supreme Court’s ruling favouring Haryana on the SYL issue, all Opposition Congress MLAs on Friday submitted their resignation to the Punjab Assembly Secretary in Chandigarh.

The 42 MLAs, including leader of Opposition Charanjit Singh Channi, Sunil Jakhar, Sukhjinder Randhawa and Balbir Singh Sidhu, went to the Assembly in Chandigarh and submitted their resignations to Assembly Secretary Shashi Lakhanpal Mishra as Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal was not present, according to a report in PTI.

Meanwhile, State Congress chief Amarinder Singh slammed the Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, alleging that the CM has “failed to protect the interest” of the people and announced that his party will take out a rally on the issue on Sunday.

Senior Congress leaders, including Partap Singh Bajwa and Ambika Soni accompanied the MLAs.

Mishra said: “I will submit the resignations to the Speaker. He will see whether to accept them or not.”

Addressing a press conference, Amarinder said, “I am not in Parliament and our MLAs are not in Vidhan Sabha. We will go to the people. We are going to burn the effigies of the government for not protecting Punjab’s rights.”

Amarinder said: “We will hold a rally at the tail-end of the canal system in southernmost part of Punjab on Sunday, which will be affected (by the verdict).”

Slamming Badal government, the state Congress chief asked, “Why is Badal not protecting Punjab’s interests? Is it because he has made a lot of money and doesn’t care what happens in his area?”

The water dispute assumed a new dimension with the Supreme Court on Thursday holding as unconstitutional the 2004 law passed by Punjab to terminate the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal water sharing agreement with neighboring states.

“All the questions have been answered in the negative,” a five-judge bench headed by Justice A R Dave said, while pronouncing its decision on the Presidential reference.

The judgement makes it clear that the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act, 2004 is “unconstitutional” and Punjab could not have taken a “unilateral” decision to terminate the water sharing agreement with Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi and Chandigarh.

The bench, which also included Justices P C Ghose, Shiva Kirti Singh, A K Goel and Amitava Roy, was unanimous in holding that all the five questions of Presidential reference have to be answered in the negative.

The judgement implies that the 2004 Act was not in consonance with the apex court judgement of 2003 which had mandated the construction of the SYL canal that was stalled.