From the recent elections in the nation, it has been found that people are voting for those parties having strong federal ideology. That is why in both Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, regional parties performed really well and the trend is likely to happen in Punjab where SAD-BJP is the strongest regional party.
The outcome of five latest assembly elections is the last rites of the Congress as the political party in the country. And the speculation is high on the Congress’s funeral would be in Punjab early next year. The election results have even broken the myth of anti-incumbency’s being an important concern. In Punjab, massive and holistic development has created a strong pro-incumbency instead.
The way Congress party has been decimated it is becoming rock solid that the Akali-BJP alliance has a strong chance to score a hat-trick in Punjab in forthcoming elections.
The Punjab Congress, itself is responsible for such anticipations. Led by Captain Amarinder Singh who is always been in limelight for his arrogant behavior, the Punjab Congress loses all the hopes. It is totally failed to woo the vote bank in the state instead the leaders in the unit verdicts the same. Rising indiscipline, internal rifts and dominating Captain’s attitude make the party’s situation quite miserable.
The party which is not united itself how it can manage the entire Punjab wholeheartedly. People viewed that Amarinder Singh can even ditch anyone for his own personal benefits. The incumbent President of Punjab can go any measures to reach his own selfish gains.
It is known to everyone that the former PM Rajiv Gandhi had helped Amarinder to enter in Indian National Congress as they both were class fellows. But after the Operation Blue Star and gaining the political momentum, Captain Amarinder had ditched his class mate and left the Congress party with his resignation for Parliament.
He joined SAD in 1984 and left the same in 1992 to form his own political party which was badly defeated. Then finally he begged AICC President Sonia Gandhi and returned to his old party in 1998. So, it clearly shows the dual face of Amarinder Singh!!
The conflict between Sikhs and Nirankari sect caused much of bloodbath for what was termed by Sikh radicals as anti-Sikh preaching by latter. When talks were initiated to resolve the matter by compromise, Congress backtracked.
In December 1981, the new chief of Nirankaris, Baba Hardev wanted to make a deal with the Sikhs. It was agreed that Nirankaris would delete the offending passages in their holy books in exchange for peace. But Chief Minister Darbara Singh stepped in and wrecked the deal. Congress was never interested in tranquillity and sanity in Punjab.
Bone of contention
There was rising unrest among the Sikhs caused by Nirankari sect head, Baba Gurbachan Singh and his followers ‘derogation’ of Sikhism, its holy scriptures, its founder Gurus, and conventions and practices held by all Sikhs in profound reverence. To a substantial extent, the “Nirankari Church’s scriptural mainstay has been the Guru Granth Sahib. But the interpretation of the verses in the Guru Granth has been distorted to suit Nirankari propaganda.
On April 13, 1978 on the auspicious day of Baisakhi a tragedy broke out with both the conflicting groups rising up in arms against each other in which 12 people lost their lives.
Political ramification of Congress
This situation presented Sanjay Gandhi and Jail Singh with a potential political disaster. The Congress Party began to whip up anti-Sant Nirankari sentiments amongst the Sikhs via their Congress-controlled Sikh temples in Delhi.
Not wishing to alienate their coalition partners, the S.G.P.C. Akali Dal tried to play down the Sant Nirankari incident in Punjab. The Congress-held Gurdwaras in Delhi promoted Bhindrawale as a hero of the Sant Nirankari incident.
Peace talks, proved futile
Akali Dal wanted that vicious battle to put to an end and peace talks were initiated with sect head. It must be noted here that in the year 1981, the newly appointed chief of Nirankaris, Baba Hardev agreed that Nirankaris would delete the objectionable passages in their holy books in lieu of restoring peace but ruling congress government led by Darbara Singh retracted leaving peace talks in limbo and conflict between two communities continue till date.
“Punjab state had to suffer a lot in wake of water sharing pact between neighboring states. Congress led governments in Punjab along with neighboring states of Haryana, Rajasthan and also at the centre helmed the construction of contentious Satluj-Yamuna link (SYL) despite strong opposition by Akali Dal.”
What was initiated in the 1976 by then Comgress Chief Minister, Giani Zail Singh took the final shape in 1982 by ceremonially digging the SYL canal by Prime Minsiter, Indira Gandhi. Indira Gandhi had negotiated a tripartite agreement between Punjab, Haryana & Rajasthan and it must be noted that it was Congress government in all three neighboring states.
Darbara Singh as Chief Minister of Punjab, Bhajan Lal as Chief Minister of Haryana and Shiv Charan Mathur as Chief Minister of Rajasthan had facilitated construction of SYL canal by signing the treaty.
Akali Dal opposed this move & nail as Punjab being an agricultural state, had no water to spare with any state. Punjab’s groundwater was depleting rapidly it would have been
detrimental fos state’s economy & prosperity.
Akali Dal launched Dharam Yudh Morcha in 1982 to oppose the construction of SYL canal. Akali Dal fought vociferously against the contentious issue and many of the Akali leaders were lodged behind the bars in wake of protest.
Deadlock on the water dispute
Sutlej Yamuna Canal, which was meant to carry water from Punjab’s rivers to Haryana, was also termed as one of the major reasons for trigger of militancy in the state. Construction of the canal was stopped in 1990, after militants gunned down a number of workers, the superintending engineer, and the chief engineer. More than 30 workers lost their lives in the midst of mayhem.
As of now there is deadlock on the issue, but much of the damage has already been caused. Besides, loss of massive amount of resources, the contentious & emotive issue also broke the peaceful & harmonious fabric of the state.
Rs. 191-crore cheque (no. 997640 of State Bank of India) on behalf of a treasury officer of the Punjab government was sent along with a letter by the Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal to the Haryana Chief Minister Mr. Manohar Lal Khattar, which stated, “The council of ministers has decided to return all the funds received by the state of Punjab from Haryana for the SYL canal. I am therefore enclosing the cheque.”
Also, Mr. Badal proposed to return the entire land free of cost to the farmers 40 years after it was acquired. The proposal may be totally in keeping with the spirit of Punjab and in the best interests of its people.
Considerably, the Punjab Government’s stand on the river waters issue has been consistent and Shiromani Akali Dal has also made it known that there will never be any compromise on the rights of Punjab as a Riparian State from where these rivers originate. The ruling party has often said that it is ready for any sacrifice on this issue but it will not allow waters to go to neighbouring states.
Noticeably, a resolution was passed by the Haryana assembly against the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) government de-notifying the 3,928-acre land acquired for SYL canal Bill. Then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had in 1982 laid the foundation stone of the canal to share waters of Punjab with Haryana and Rajasthan.
Congress creating unrest over SYL issue
It is not only at the National level that the Congress party speaks the language of dissent, back in Punjab, the Congress party and its president, Capt Amarinder Singh have mastered the art of opposing everything that the ruling government proposes.
“The Punjab government is just trying to fool us and people of Punjab. They just want the matter to keep hanging in the court. They have just started the pseudo work of filling up the canal. It’s just an eye-wash. They know that Centre would not approve their Bill and neither will their ally BJP’s government in Haryana will allow it,” said Fatehgarh Sahib MLA and Congress national secretary Kuljit Singh Nagra.
To which Punjab revenue minister Bikram Majithia replied, “We would have already completed the filling up of the canal. This government is serious about safeguarding water interests of Punjab unlike you.”
Punjab has been over the years witnessed Shiromani Akali Dal’s contribution in the safeguarding the interests and rights of the people of Punjab, especially of the farmers and poor. SAD has always remained the sole champion of the brave peasantry of the country as well as the Punjab state.
“River water is a life line of Punjab farmers and the interests of farmers are very dear to the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), the oldest regional party of the country. The party’s contribution to the cause of the state and its people is audaciously written in blood”
On April 6, 1982, then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi started the SYL canal at Kapori village after she made an unconstitutional move in 1976 to award 75% of Punjab’s waters to non-riparian states of Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi. The Amarinder government introduced the Termination of Water Agreement Act, 2004 in the Vidhan Sabha, to be rejected by the President.
SAD has put a full-stop on efforts of Capt Amarinder Singh to cheat farmers and make them believe they were leading the battle against releasing waters through the SYL canal to Haryana. The ruling party has often said that it is ready for any sacrifice on this issue but it will not allow waters to go to neighbouring states.
SAD consistent on SYL issue From the day this issue has arisen, the Punjab Government had been consistently saying that no compromise would be made on the rights of Punjab as a Riparian State from where these rivers originate.
The Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Parkash Singh Badal also emphasized that SAD will ensure that there is no compromise on the sharing of river waters with neighbouring Haryana under the Riparian Principle. However, the Punjab Congress and its chief, Capt Amarinder Singh for the heck of opposition launched a scathing attack on the government policies by resorting to a vilification campaign to mislead the gullible people of Punjab.
The Punjab cabinet would bring ‘Punjab Sutlej Yamuna Link Canal (Rehabilitation and Re-vesting of Proprietary Rights) Bill, 2016’ in the Assembly which will allow the government to restore land acquired for construction of SYL canal to its owners.
Also, Mrs. Harsimrat Kaur Badal , Union Food Processing Industries Minister had accused Capt. Amarinder Singh for paying lip service and issuing press statements for public consumption. “Punjabis have been suffering repeatedly at the hands of successive Congress governments even as Punjab Congress leaders continue to pay lip service to the demands of the State. The time has come to walk the talk. Amarinder Singh should either make the Congress high command toe his line on the issue of river waters or resign as a failed leader”, said Harsimrat Kaur Badal.
Also, well known for its urge to be in power and media, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) intervened into the issue and its leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira challenged Punjab Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh to an open debate on the SYL issue. Let’s see whether Capt Amarinder Singh accepts the challenge or just pay lip service over the issue.