SYL row: Bhupinder Singh Hooda seeks President rule in Punjab

Chandigarh: Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Tuesday demanded the immediate imposition of President’s Rule in Punjab till the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal is constructed.

“The President must impose President’s Rule in Punjab because the government in the neighbouring state is defying the Supreme Court’s verdict on the SYL issue, putting a question mark on the federal structure of the country,” the senior Congress leader said after a meeting with party MLAs on the issue in Chandigarh.

President’s rule should be imposed till the SYL canal is constructed, Mr Hooda said, assuring the party’s support to the BJP-led state government.

“Every drop of water is property of the country,” he asserted questioning the stand of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s on the water sharing issue.

Shortly after the Supreme Court’s judgment on November 10 favouring Haryana on the contentious SYL canal issue, Mr Badal had asserted “not a drop of water” will be allowed to be taken out of the state.

In its judgment, the top court held that the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act, 2004 was “unconstitutional” and that the state could not have taken a “unilateral” decision to terminate the water sharing agreement with neighboring states.

Earlier, Mr Hooda in a meeting with Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had asked him to take a bold stand on the issue.

“Now or never,” Mr Hooda said referring to the SYL canal’s construction for inter-state sharing of water from the Ravi and Beas river.

Mr Hooda even urged the Chief Minister to call a special Assembly session on the issue.

“A meeting of party workers has also been called on December 11 in Jind to decide the future course of action in connection with the issue,” he informed.

On Congress leaders in Punjab being against the construction of the SYL canal, he said, “It was because of this reason that the Haryana Congress demanded immediate imposition of President’s Rule in the state (Punjab).”

Denying any factionalism in Congress in the state, Mr Hooda said, “All the party leaders in the meeting were for the construction of the SYL canal.”

Haryana Congress chief Ashok Tanwar held a separate meeting on the issue.