DURING every election in Punjab, the SAD-BJP combine and the Congress rake up the issue of river water-sharing to exploit the people’s sentiments to get votes, but neither of them made any concerted effort to resolve the row surrounding the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury has said.
Addressing an election rally in Garhshanker in Hoshiarpur district of Punjab on January 28, he said river water is a natural resource and any decision on sharing of natural resources can be taken only by sitting together. There is an SAD-BJP government in Punjab, BJP government in Haryana and the SAD-supported BJP dispensation at the Centre, they could have resolved the issue through discussions, he said.
Taking a dig at Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his deputy Sukhbir Singh Badal, he said, “If the Badals had the will to resolve the water issue they could have done so by involving all stakeholders. But they didn’t do it because for them, it is an issue to exploit people’s sentiments to get votes.”
On the crisis in the agriculture sector, Yechury held the Akali Dal-BJP government responsible for suicides of debt-ridden peasants and agricultural workers in Punjab, a state which contributes major share in the national pool and whose economy is agriculture-based. He condemned the BJP-led central government for going back on its promise of implementing the Swaminathan Committee recommendations on minimum support price.
On demonetisation, he said the Modi government did it to save the banking sector from collapsing because non-performing assets of the banks increased after the corporate entities who had taken loans worth more than Rs 11 lakh crore did not return money. “Instead of punishing the corporates, Modi stopped the people from withdrawing their own money from the banks to keep banking reserves intact and preventing their collapse. He made the people to suffer for which he must apologise to the country,” Yechury said.
Flaying the 10-year rule of the Akali-BJP combine, Yechury said that Punjab had been under the grip of various mafias patronised by the ruling parties and aided and abetted by the civil and police administrations. These mafias are active in drug trade, gravel and sand mining, transport sector and cable TV network. Punjab’s youths, who had the legacy of Sardar Bhagat Singh, are now in the tight grip of drugs due to vested interests of people at the helm of affairs.
He appealed to the people to vote for CPI(M) and Left Front candidates for pro-working people policies and prosperous Punjab. He introduced the four CPI(M) candidates -- Harbhajan Singh Atwal (Garhshanker constituency), Paramjit Singh Rouri (Balachaur), HItesh Pathak (Nawanshahar) and Mohinder Singh Sangatpur (Anandpur Sahib) -- to the people and appealed for making them victorious in the February 4 Assembly polls.