All 42 legislators of the Congress resigned from the Punjab Assembly on Friday, to mark their protest against a Supreme Court verdict on water sharing. The Opposition party also announced that it would hold a rally on Sunday against Thursday’s ruling, which struck down a Punjab law dismissing a pact to share water with five other states through the Sutlej-Yamuna Link Canal.

Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh accused Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal of “failing to protect the interest” of the state. He announced that they will hold an agitation at the “tail-end of the canal system in southernmost part of Punjab”, which will be affected by the court’s decision. “We will go to the people. We are going to burn the effigies of the government [figures] for not protecting Punjab’s rights,” said Singh, who had earlier announced his decision to resign as an MP to protest against the verdict.

Badal, however, had said on Thursday that the Shiromani Akali Dal would ensure that Punjab’s water is not taken away. He had also emphasised that the water-sharing dispute was a “livelihood and economic issue” and not a political one. “We are merely fighting for our rights,” the chief minister had said, dismissing the Congress lawmakers’ resignation as drama.

The Congress MLAs, including Opposition leader Charanjit Singh Channi, Sukhjinder Randhawa, Sunil Jakhar and Balbir Singh Sidhu, submitted their resignations to Assembly Secretary Shashi Lakhanpal Mishra as Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal was not available, PTI reported.

While pronouncing its verdict, the Supreme Court had also ordered a status quo on a recent resolution passed by the ruling SAD-Bharatiya Janata Party government, through which the Punjab government had denotified the land acquired to construct the canal to return the plots to the farmers. The Centre will now take over the construction of the conduit meant to distribute water among six states – Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan and Delhi.