CHANDIGARH: Asserting that he was not scared of ED or anyone else, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday slammed all the opposition parties in the state for playing politics with the lives of the farmers to further their own interests.
He and the entire Congress party was solidly with the farmers and the centre must listen to them and accept their demands, said the Chief Minister, lambasting all the key opposition players, right from Prakash Singh Badal, Sukhbir and Harsimrat, to Arvind Kejriwal and ML Khattar, for their flip-flops and for making a mockery of the fight of the farmers, who were sitting out in the cold on the roads to get their rightful due.
“For 13 years, I have been going to courts because of the cases initiated against me by the Badals, I am not bothered about ED. I can go to courts and fight for another 13 years,” he said, reacting to Harsimrat Badal’s charge that he was under ED pressure. “All these Badals are alike, and they are all liars,” he said, advising the Akali leaders to stop lying and tell the truth as “the people know what you are.”
The Chief Minister said that in his meeting yesterday, he had told Union Home Minister Amit Shah that the amendment Bills passed in Punjab Vidhan Sabha were the solution to breaking the deadlock over the farmers’ issue as they were the essence of the state’s future. “I urged him to get the Bills approved by the President,” he said, adding that yesterday was the third time he met Shah, including once to congratulate him becoming Home Minister and the other two times for the sake of Punjab.
Taking on the Akalis over their double-speak on the Farm Laws, the Chief Minister said in a live video statement on Facebook that the Badals had publicly done a U-turn on the issue. “I don’t know why Prakash Singh Badal got the Padma Vibhushan in the first place,” he quipped, reacting to Badal Senior’s decision to return the medal to the Government of India. Noting that Gen Harbaksh Singh had got Padma Vibhushan for winning the 1965 war, Captain Amarinder asked “what war did Prakash Singh Badal fight or what sacrifice did he make for the community.” “Stop politicking on this…these theatrics might have worked 40 years ago but they won’t work now,” he added.
“All his life Prakash Singh Badal has been claiming that he represents the interests of the farmers. Then why did his party support the central Ordinances after initially opposing them, and then did an about-turn and started publicly criticising the legislations?” remarked the Chief Minister.
Captain Amarinder pointed out that as a member of the Union Cabinet, Harsimrat Kaur Badal had been very much a part of the meeting that passed the farm ordinances. “Is she illiterate that she can’t read?” he asked.
Lashing out at Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal for twisting his statement on national security, the Chief Minister said it was clearly made in reference to Pakistan and as home minister of Punjab, it was his duty to apprise the Union Home Minister of the dangers of the prolonged agitation.
“Kejriwal nu jhooth bolan di aadat hai, aur Khattar nu kuttan di,” (Kejriwal is in the habit of lying and ML Khattar is in the habit of thrashing), said the Chief Minister, taking on both, his Haryana and Delhi counterparts on their actions amid the farmers’ protests. Even old farmers were not spared by the Khattar government, he observed, citing the violence used against the farmers in Haryana. Noting that the Kisan Unions had announced their ‘Delhi Chalo’ march in advance, he said they should have been called for talks, but instead, they were subjected to water cannons and teargas shells.
Describing Kejriwal as a slimy fellow who was in the habit of lying, Captain Amarinder asked the Delhi chief minister to first explain why his government had notified one of the central farm laws. “When other Opposition-ruled states, including Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, have passed amendment bills to counter the central laws, why did he not call a session of the Delhi Assembly to reject the latter?” the Punjab Chief Minister said. “Does Kejriwal not have villages around Delhi,” he asked.
Declaring that when he speaks for Punjab, he speaks from his heart, the Chief Minister said the Bills brought in by his government and passed in the Vidhan Sabha were in accordance with the Indian Constitution, as was done in Gujarat in 2015. All Punjab parties had supported his government initially and even went to meet the Governor with him but later, some did a U-turn for political gains, he said.
Pointing out that when the farmers sat on Punjab’s railway tracks for two months, not a single stone was pelted, Captain Amarinder said “our famers have toiled and given their lives to feed the nation.” His government did not take any steps against the agitating farmers as “I knew what’s in their hearts,” he added.
Punjab’s farmers made India self-sufficient “but now, when other states have also started growing wheat and paddy, our farmers are being ignored,” he lamented. Had Punjab’s farmers not saved India and had the Green Revolution not happened, India would have been much different today, he added. He pointed out that the agitating farmers have the support not only of Indians but also from abroad.