Punjab CM Amarinder lashes out at SAD chief Sukhbir

Last Updated 17 October 2019, 15:12 IST

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday lashed out at SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, accusing him of putting the state's claim on river waters at stake by allying with the INLD in Haryana for the assembly elections.

Given the stand of the Indian National Lok Dal on the issue, anyone siding with the Chatualas was clearly a "threat" to Punjab's rights, said the chief minister here.

He also termed the Shiromani Akali Dal chief a "power-hungary politician having no moral principals", saying while the SAD was supporting the INLD in Haryana against the BJP, it was allying with the latter in Punjab.

"Sukhbir's behaviour has exposed the fissures in the SAD-BJP alliance and a split in Punjab seems more than imminent," he said.

The SAD is contesting the October 21 Haryana assembly polls in alliance with the INLD while it is an ally of the BJP in Punjab.

The INLD has been demanding the construction of the Sutlej Yamuna link Canal for the sharing of the Ravi and Beas waters.

The chief minister also protested the levy of USD 20 service fee by Pakistan on pilgrims travelling to Kartarpur Sahib.

He said the state government would continue to fight for the simplification of the procedures to travel via the Kartarpur corridor to the historic gurdwara in the neighbouring country.

During his roadshow in Dakha, the CM said poor devotees desirous of visiting the gurdwara during the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev could not afford taxes and passports.

These things, he said, were against the ideology of "khulle darshan" (free access), which his government was fighting for.

Terming development as the key issue in the bypolls to four assembly seats in the state, the chief minister said the work done by the Congress government over the last two and a half years spoke for itself.

The government had ensured smooth procurement of paddy, health insurance for all and debt waiver, he said.

Asked about the Bargari sacrilege cases, the chief minister said his government was committed to delivering justice to the victims and bringing the culprits to book.

The SIT was moving expeditiously to investigate the cases and bring them to their logical conclusion, he added.

To a question on the problem of drugs, Amarinder said a lot had been achieved though problems remained as Pakistan continued to smuggle narcotics into Punjab.

The state government had joined forces with neighbouring states and successfully battling the menace, he added.

The chief minister also expressed concern over the state of the economy under the BJP-led regime at the Centre and said only the Congress could bring the nation back on the path of growth and development.

In response to a question, he said the Dakha constituency was completely "neglected" by former AAP MLA H S Phoolka.

The Congress has fielded Sandeep Sandhu from the constituency.

(Published 17 October 2019, 15:12 IST)

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