Arvind Kejriwal, the chief minister of Delhi, asked the Center for help on Wednesday to guarantee that Punjab and Haryana would have access to water, even as he accused the BJP and the Congress of politicizing the long-running Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal issue.
He delivered the speech at Hisar, Haryana, unveiling his party’s “Make India No. 1” campaign. The Punjabi government “is not cooperating” in settling the SYL canal problem, the Centre informed the Supreme Court the day before.
Additionally, Mr. Kejriwal urged the Centre to avoid stirring up a conflict between the two states.
Bhagwant Mann, the chief minister of Punjab, who was with Mr. Kejriwal, said that he had no reservations about meeting with Manohar Lal Khattar, the chief minister of Haryana, to discuss the SYL canal conflict.
In response to a query about the matter, the chief minister of Delhi also urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to provide water for both Punjab and Haryana, claiming that both states were experiencing shortages.
“I want to know how the Haryana Congress and the Punjab Congress feel about the SYL problem. I also want to see how the BJPs in Punjab and Haryana think about it.
He remarked, “They go to Punjab and claim they won’t let the SYL canal’s building, then when they get to Haryana, they say they would assure the canal’s construction.
Mr. Kejriwal states, “this corrupt politics has not allowed India to become number one in the previous 70 years.”
He said that due to the states’ declining underground water tables, Punjab and Haryana require water.
In Hisar, he told reporters, “It is the duty of the federal government that it should step in and guarantee water for Haryana and Punjab.”
“What is the central government’s role? Making these two states compete with one another is not the responsibility of the Center. How can India advance if we keep fighting each other? Mr. Kejriwal questioned.
He said that Punjab and Haryana could get water but added that the Centre would be responsible for providing it.
I want Pradhan Mantri to ensure that Punjab and Haryana have access to enough water. He should contact me so that I may give him the answer if he does not already know it. It must be settled,” Mr. Kejriwal stated.
Punjab and Haryana have been at odds over the SYL Canal dispute for many years.
To get its fair share of the 3.5 million acre-feet (MAF) of water, Haryana has been pushing for the completion of the SYL canal, while Punjab has been calling for a reevaluation of the amount of water in the Ravi-Beas river.
In response to a question, Mann said that while he had no difficulty meeting with the chief minister of Haryana to discuss the SYL issue, the Centre should settle it.
“As the state’s leader, I’m prepared for it” (meeting). The Haryana chief minister is welcome to attend and engage in dialogue, he said.
Mann referred to Haryana as the younger brother of Punjab and said that a solution should be found rather than forcing the two states to battle each other.
When asked about Kuldeep Bishnoi, Mr. Kejriwal said that the former Adampur MLA joined the BJP to resolve issues against him.
“Why did he (Bishnoi) go to the BJP? He had multiple cases on his plate. The Delhi chief minister said that he went there to straighten things out.
Recently, Mr. Bishnoi switched from Congress to the BJP.