Chandigarh, Jul 10 (PTI) Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda today termed the INLD protest on Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal issue as “political drama”.

He said the party was trying to find its foothold after people rejected it.

“In February, they said they will pick up the tools to dig the SYL canal themselves. It is the same party which opposed the Rajiv-Longowal accord earlier and now they are trying to befool and mislead people on the SYL issue. Will Haryana get SYL water by stopping vehicles from Punjab? This is just political drama,” Hooda alleged while speaking to reporters here.

People gave mandate to INLD to play role of main opposition, but they have been reduced to being the ‘B’ team of the ruling BJP, he claimed.

He said the people of Haryana cannot be “befooled by such gimmicks”.

Surjewala also took potshots.

“The INLD is going to vote along side BJP in the presidential election on July 17, then how are they boycotting the same BJP today. It only proves they are the ‘B’ team,” Surjewala alleged.

Hitting out at the INLD, Surjewala, a Congress spokesperson, said the “historical truth is that it was INLD which boycotted in Haryana, the Eradi Commission, by showing it black flags. The Eradi Commission gave over 38 lakh acre feet of SYL water to Haryana.”

Hooda alleged that the Chautalas had always hobnobbed with the Badals of Punjab.

“I wrote to Abhay Chautala that if he was really interested, we should rise above party politics and fight jointly on this issue in the interest of the state. However, he did not respond,” he claimed.

Hooda maintained that now only the Centre could get the canal constructed, as the Supreme Court had already given its verdict that the canal was to be dug by the Centre.

“This is not the time for political gimmicks. We all should pressure the Centre to implement the SC verdict,” he said.

Punjab has been maintaining that it does not have surplus water to share with Haryana.

In November last year, the court had thwarted Punjab’s attempt to wriggle out of the SYL water sharing pact, saying it cannot “unilaterally” terminate it or legislate to “nullify” the verdict of the highest court.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.