When reluctant Solanki put Badal in a bind

DW Bureau/Chandigarh:

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(Reminding how Guv Verma was removed soon after nod to SYL Bill, Solanki was non-committal to BadalÔÇÖs request)

Punjab Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki, on Tuesday, politely turned down an appeal from Punjab leaders to accord his nod to the new Punjab SYL Canal Land (Transfer of Proprietary Rights) Bill, 2016. He reminded the Punjab leaders led by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal of how the then Governor Justice OP Verma (retd) was removed by the Centre soon after he signed the controversial Punjab Termination of Waters Agreement in 2004.

When Badal told Solanki that if such a situation obtained, the Governor should not hesitate in making a sacrifice, Solanki quickly responded that in that situation, Badal, being the eldest of all, should be the first one to make a sacrifice.

The Governor clarified to the visiting delegation that he was aware of the sensitive nature of the matter of signing the Bill and would not like to rush with it and make the same mistake as one of his predecessors had made, sources said.

The Governor patiently listened to Chief Minister Badal, Leader of Opposition Charanjit Singh Channi and BJP leader Madan Mohan Mittal. But later he told the delegation that while he understood their feelings, he would like the study the Bill since the rivers water issue was before the Supreme Court and the issue also involved the interests of the people in Haryana.

Sensing the GovernorÔÇÖs mood that he was not willing to stick his neck out and was fully aware of the sensitivities involved in dealing with the controversial SYL Bill, the Chief Minister reportedly exhorted the Governor that at this stage, he, too, should not mind making any sacrifice. The Governor, however, preferred to remain non-committal, it is learnt.

The Punjab Assembly had, on Monday, unanimously passed the Bill for returning land acquired for the canal to farmers free of cost and the Haryana House had passed a resolution for construction of the canal, rejecting the Punjab Bill.

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