Other States

Punjab, Haryana CMs trade barbs

The Chief Ministers of Haryana and Punjab hurled accusations at each other on Saturday over the ongoing farmers’ agitation.

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal said it was “unfortunate” and “condemnable” to see how people were furthering their political agenda in the name of farmers and appealed to the protesters to ask their representatives to hold talks with the Centre as this was the “only solution”.

He said the ongoing farmers’ march was mainly backed by political parties of Punjab, and added that he had been trying to contact Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh regarding the stir for the last three days but got no response. “I personally made several calls to the Punjab CM but every time the request was denied,” claimed Mr. Lal.

The Punjab government is clearly responsible for the farmers’ protest as the office-bearers of the Punjab CMO are leading the agitation, said Mr. Lal, while thanking the farmers of Haryana for not taking part in the protest.

‘Police showed restraint’

Appreciating Haryana Police for dealing with the march, Mr. Lal said the police showed restraint and did not use any force. The State police only tried to stop the farmers from unjustifiably marching towards Delhi in such large numbers, he added.

In reply to a question on alleged Khalistan connection to the farmers protests, Mr. Lal said there were inputs of some such “unwanted” elements in the crowd. He said that there were reports and they would disclose once there was concrete evidence.

Capt. Amarinder questioned Mr. Lal’s decision not to allow farmers to go peacefully to the national capital when the Centre was ready to talk to them and even the Delhi government had no problem letting them in.

“Who is the Haryana CM to come in between? What business does he have interfering in this whole affair?” said the Punjab CM, while accusing Mr. Lal of making baseless allegations that he was instigating the farmers and provoking them to agitate.

“I am a nationalist to the core, I run a border State and will never do anything to create law and order problem of any kind,” he said, adding that for 60 days the farmers were blocking Punjab’s railway tracks, causing over ₹43,000 crore in losses to the State, without any problem.

“I will not take this nonsense from Lal. Don’t I have better things to do than to incite farmers?” he said, adding that “sometimes they say it is Khalistanis who are managing the protests and sometimes they accuse me of doing it… let them make up their mind.”

The Punjab CM categorically declared that no political party was involved in the protests, which were a “spontaneous reaction of the farmers who were fighting for their future”.

Capt. Amarinder also dismissed Mr. Lal’s claim that Haryana farmers were not part of the ‘Dilli Chalo’ agitation.

He said Punjab’s intelligence showed that as many as 40,000-50,000 farmers from Haryana had joined the march to Delhi, which even the Centre’s intelligence reports would have borne out.

“He [Mr. Lal] does not know what is happening in his own State and he is telling me what to do in my State!” said Capt. Amarinder.

‘Will not speak to Lal’

He also said that Mr. Lal was lying about trying to call him. “But now, after what he [Mr. Lal] has done to my farmers, I will not speak to him even if he calls me 10 times. Unless he apologises and admits that he did wrong with Punjab’s farmers, I will not forgive him,” said Capt. Amarinder.

Congress Rajya Sabha MP Deepender Singh Hooda interacted with farmers holding dharna at Tikri border to know their well-being at Bahadurgarh’s Sector 9 Mor. Mr. Hooda demanded that the government should not delay holding talks with the farmers in view of the cold conditions and arrange for their food, lodging and medical care in case the talks were put off till December 3.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2021 6:50:38 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/punjab-haryana-cms-trade-barbs/article33203155.ece

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