SYL issue: SAD chief Sukhbir Badal, Akali leaders stopped from approaching CM Bhagwant Mann’s residence

Sukhbir says condemnable that CM chose to flee Punjab rather than debate his betrayal on the SYL canal with Akali Dal

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) senior leadership and youth volunteers on Tuesday braved force and water cannons in their bid to approach the residence of Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann to hold a debate on the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal as well as other burning issues concerning the state.

Sukhbir Badal also addressed party workers on the road when the party leaders were prevented from approaching the chief minister’s residence.

He said it was condemnable that the chief minister had chosen to flee Punjab rather than debate his betrayal on the SYL canal with the Shiromani Akali Dal.

Slogans of ‘bhaj gaya vi bhaj gaya’ echoed on the roads of Chandigarh even as the SAD president was addressing the congregation from atop a vehicle. Party workers placed an empty chair with the chief minister’s name on the vehicle to show how Bhagwant Mann had run away from the debate.

Speaking on the occasion, Badal said, “The chief minister challenged me to a debate on the SYL which I accepted and even announced that I would come to his residence today to debate all facets of the case. I thought the chief minister will receive us in the same manner in which former CM Parkash Singh Badal used to meet protesters coming to his residence including Bhagwant Mann and the AAP leadership. But he chose to flee to Madhya Pradesh with Arvind Kejriwal rather than facing me and the SAD”.

Asserting that water was a natural resource for Punjab just like coal was that for Chhattisgarh and marble for Rajasthan, Badal said “this resource has been taken away from us unilaterally by successive Congress governments from 1955 when half of our river waters was given to Rajasthan and then in 1976 when another half of the remaining water was given to Haryana”.

Asserting that AAP was following the line taken by the Congress party, Badal said, “AAP is readying to give more of the State’s river waters to Haryana and Rajasthan to derive political advantage in the forthcoming assembly elections.”

Badal also spoke about the unprecedented increase in drug menace and alleged this was because AAP MLAs were taking monthlies from the drug mafia and preventing the State police from arresting kingpins involved in the drug trade.

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