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SYL issue can trigger return of terrorism in Punjab: Amarinder (Interview)

IANS  |  New Delhi 

President has warned that the construction of the controversial Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal to provide water to neighbouring can trigger the return of Khalistani in this border state.

There are Khalistani elements across the border (in Pakistan) who are waiting for an opportune moment to once again unleash terror on Punjab's soil, the senior leader and former Chief Minister told IANS in an interview.

Peace in was marred from the late 1970s till 1993 by militants' demand for an independent state of Khalistan for the Sikh.

Elections to the 117-member assembly are slated to be held in early 2017, wherein the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance will be pitted against the opposition and the emerging Aam Aadmi Party.

"Denial of water to residents of Malwa and other regions of southern Punjab, in particular, can lead to violence, given the past violence in the region which saw onset of with the passing of Anandpur Sahib resolution in 1973 (by the Akalis) and also the spread of Naxalism," the 74-year-old senior politician said.

Amarinder Singh, who resigned as Lok Sabha member (elected from the Amritsar constiuency) effective from November 11 after the Supreme Court ruling on a Presidential Reference on sharing of river waters with Haryana, also said that demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes had also emerged as an important issue in due to hardships it caused the people.

on November 23 handed over his resignation letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to protest over the SYL canal issue.

The Supreme Court on November 10 held as "unconstitutional" the 2004 law passed by the assembly which was intended to deny its share in the river waters through the SYL canal.

was the Chief Minister when the assembly passed the Termination of Water Agreements Act, 2004.

In case the returns to power in Punjab, said, he will again take legal recourse by bringing in proper legislations in the on the sharing of river waters.

"I will do it once again when I am in power with two-thirds majority in the assembly. I had earlier also done all I could legally to prevent even a single drop of water from flowing out of I can promise one thing: Water of will remain with the state's people, who need every single drop of it for their own survival."

"The interests of Punjab's people are of utmost importance. I will not allow these to be compromised at any cost, even if the leadership tomorrow decides to take a contrarian stand on the issue."

Answering a query, said cricketer turned politician Navjot Singh Sidkhu, who earlier resigned as thed BJP's Rajya Sabha member, will add value to the party's campaigning in

"It is for Sidhu to decide if he wants to join the or not. But he's definitely going to be a part of the campaign in Punjab, to which, I'm sure, he will make value addition," he said.

Asked if the ex-cricketer will contest the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat, which he was representing in the 16th Lok Sabha before his resignation, said: "It is for the high command to decide."

Navjot Singh Sidhu's wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu -- who represented Amritsar East constituency in assembly and resigned from the BJP -- is slated to join the on November 28 along with former hockey Olympian Pargat Singh.

Pargat Singh, who parted ways with the Akali Dal, represented Jalandhar Cantt in the assembly.

Asked about the main rival to the in the coming assembly polls, said there was no serious threat to his party, which is trying to make a comeback in after remaining out of power since the 2007 elections.

"The Shiromani Akali Dal stopped being a serious player in the polls a long time ago. The Aam Aadmi Party is itself trying to maintain a semblance of credibility in Punjab," the senior leader said.

said he resigned as Lok Sabha member to stand with the people of after the Supreme Court verdict on Presidential Reference on Sutlej-Yamuna waters.

He said Chief Minister had lost whatever little credibility he had in public eye after the SYL verdict.

"For 10 years, he allowed Punjab's case in the apex court on the SYL issue to be compromised. For 10 years, he closed his eyes to the people's problems. He also allowed industries to become defunct," the former Chief Minister said.

has been witnessing suicides by farmers and addiction among its youths, he said.

As for AAP leader and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's charges of Swiss bank accounts of his wife Preneet Kaur and son Raninder Singh and accumulation of black money, said these were "old charges" which even the Enforcement Directorate had not been able to prove.

He said fake account numbers have been released by Kejriwal, the same numbers that were mentioned earlier also in connection with his wife and son.

"But as in the past, not a shred of evidence has been produced to link these numbers to me or my family. All this is mere election gimmickry -- a ploy to divert public attention from Kejriwal's own failures," he said.

(Prashant Sood can be contacted at



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, November 27 2016. 17:48 IST