Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday sought the Centre’s intervention to ensure water for Punjab and Haryana even as he accused the BJP and the Congress of playing politics over the decades-old Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal dispute.
He made the remarks in Haryana’s Hisar, from where he launched his party’s ‘Make India No. 1’ campaign. This came a day after the Centre told the Supreme Court that the Punjab government was “not cooperating” in resolving the SYL canal issue.
Mr Kejriwal also asked the Centre not to make the two states fight over the issue.
Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, who was accompanying Mr Kejriwal, said he has no hesitation in meeting with his Haryana counterpart Manohar Lal Khattar over the SYL canal dispute.
Replying to a question over the issue, the Delhi chief minister also appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure water for both Punjab and Haryana, asserting that both the states were facing shortages.
“I want to ask the stand of the Punjab Congress and the Haryana Congress on the SYL issue. I also want to ask the stand of the Punjab BJP and the Haryana BJP on it.
“They go to Punjab and say they will not allow construction of the SYL canal, and when they come to Haryana, they say they will ensure construction of the canal,” he said.
“This dirty politics has not let India become number one in the last 70 years,” Mr Kejriwal said.
He said both Punjab and Haryana need water as the level of underground water table is depleting in both the states.
“It is the responsibility of the central government that it should intervene and ensure water for Haryana and Punjab,” he told reporters in Hisar.
“What is the job of the central government? It is not the job of the Centre to make these two states fight against each other. If we continue to fight against each other, how will India move forward,” Mr Kejriwal asked.
He said it was possible for both Haryana and Punjab to get water, adding that the Centre will have to take the responsibility for this.
“I appeal to pradhan mantri-ji to ensure arrangement of adequate water for Punjab and Haryana. If he does not have the solution, then he should call me and I will tell him about it. It has to be resolved,” said Mr Kejriwal.
The SYL canal row has been a bone of contention between Punjab and Haryana for several decades.
Punjab has been demanding a reassessment of the Ravi-Beas river waters’ volume while Haryana has been seeking completion of the SYL canal to get its share of 3.5 million acre feet (MAF) of water.
Replying to a query, Mann said while he had no problem meeting with the Haryana chief minister over the SYL issue, the Centre should resolve it.
“As the head of the state, I am ready for it (meeting). The chief minister of Haryana can come and will hold talks,” he added.
Stating that Haryana is the younger brother of Punjab, Mann said rather than making the two states fight against each other, a solution should be found out.
To a question on Kuldeep Bishnoi, Mr Kejriwal said the former Adampur MLA joined the BJP in order to get cases against him sorted out.
“Why he (Bishnoi) went there (BJP)? He was facing several cases. He went there to get them sorted,” the Delhi chief minister alleged.
Mr Bishnoi had recently left the Congress for the BJP.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)