Published By: Sheen Kachroo
Last Updated: October 08, 2023, 14:45 IST
Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann Sunday challenged the BJP, Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal for an open debate on issues pertaining to the state amid opposition parties’ criticism over the issue of Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal.
Punjab’s opposition parties have attacked the Aam Aadmi Party government following the Supreme Court directive on October 4, asking the Centre to survey the portion of land in Punjab that was allocated for construction of part of the canal and make an estimate of the extent of construction carried out there.
Mann dared Punjab BJP chief Sunil Jakhar, Punjab Congress chief Amrinder Singh Raja Warring and the leader of opposition in Punjab assembly, Partap Singh Bajwa, and SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal for a debate.
“It is an open invitation to (Punjab) BJP president Jakhar ji, Sukhbir Singh Badal of Akali Dal, Raja Warring, Partap Bajwa of Congress that instead of squabbling every day, come and sit in front of the people of Punjab and the media for a live debate on who carried out the loot and how was it done,” Mann said.
He called for a “live debate” on all issues – ranging from nepotism, toll plazas and sharing of Sutlej river’s water.
“Brothers-nephews, brother-in-laws, friends, toll plazas, youth, farming, trade, shopkeepers, river water… let us have a live debate on all issues…,” he said.
“You may bring papers along with you but I will just speak. November 1 ‘Punjab Day’ will be a good day (for the debate)… You will get enough time for preparation… I am fully prepared as I do not need to cram things for speaking the truth,” Mann posted on X in Punjabi.
Responding to Mann, Punjab BJP chief Jakhar said that he was ready for a debate on every issue of Punjab.
“First of all, you tell us that under what pressure, or for which political interests, you knelt before the Supreme Court on the serious issue of Punjab’s waters. Punjab seeks an answer,” said Jakhar on X.
The Mann government has been facing criticism from the opposition parties over the SYL issue.
Punjab BJP on Saturday had held a protest, accusing the AAP government of failing to safeguard the state’s interest on river water.
Jakhar had alleged that the government “weakened” Punjab’s stand in the Supreme Court over the SYL issue.
The state government in the apex court stated that the government was ready to build the canal but the opposition parties and farmers were opposing it, Jakhar had claimed on Saturday.
The SAD has also announced to ‘gherao’ Mann’s official residence in Chandigarh on October 10 over the SYL issue.
AAP leader Malvinder Singh Kang on Saturday had slammed both the BJP and the Shiromani Akali Dal for allegedly misleading people of the state over the SYL issue and had asserted that not even a single drop of water will be allowed to be shared with any other state.
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)