SAD-BJP silence indicates they have much to hide: Amarinder
Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh on Monday said the BJP owed an explanation to the people of Punjab in view of Navjot Singh Sidhu’s claims that he was asked by the party to “stay away” from the State.
“Sidhu’s revelations today have vindicated our stand that the Akalis and the BJP are partners in the sins of omission and commission and maybe, they were apprehensive that he might expose them and that’s why, they barred and gagged him,” he said and expressed surprise over BJP’s “silence and refusal” to comment on the issue.
“Their (the Akalis and the BJP) silence only indicates that the two parties have too much to hide. That is why they are left dumbfounded and not saying anything,” he alleged.
Earlier, the Punjab Congress chief told a press conference that their doors were open to the 52-year-old cricketer-turned-politician, adding that there was no disagreement in the party over inviting Sidhu to join it.
Mr Singh said Sidhu’s family has had a “long relationship” with the Congress, adding that his mother had twice contested Assembly elections on Congress ticket, while his father was the Advocate General of Punjab during the Congress rule in the 1980s.
Earlier in the day, Mr Sidhu told reporters in Delhi that he quit Rajya Sabha as the BJP had asked him to “stay away” from Punjab.
“Badal started SYL canal construction process”
Mr Amarinder Singh said it was not his party but current Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his then Haryana counterpart Chaudhary Devi Lal who had started the process of constructing the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal.
This, he claimed, was recorded in the proceedings of Haryana Vidhan Sabha for anyone to see.
He alleged that Mr Badal and Devi Lal had reached an “agreement” that Haryana would pay Rs 5 crore to Punjab for the construction of the canal.
“Of this, Badal had accepted Rs two crore,” claimed Mr Singh, adding that a statement of the Haryana government to this affect was “very much on record” in the Assembly.
Talking to reporters on the sidelines of his mass outreach programme ‘Halke vich Captain’ here, the former Punjab Chief Minister said the Akalis had no moral authority or locus standi to blame the Congress on the SYL canal issue.
He claimed that it was the Congress who had “saved” the waters of Punjab by introducing the Termination of Agreements Act and it will do the same once again after forming the government in the State in 2017.
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) had on Sunday accused Amarinder of being a party to “scripting a black chapter” in Punjab’s history by supporting the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s decision to construct the canal.
The Amritsar MP denied questioning the authority of the Supreme Court (SC) and said Congress legislators and MPs would resign if the SC decides against the interests of Punjab on the canal issue.
Replying to another question, he said there was nothing wrong or unusual in Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan “suspending” AAP MP Bhagwant Mann from the House and setting up a committee to look into his controversial act of shooting a video of Parliament.