Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday took on his counterparts from Delhi and Haryana – Arvind Kejriwal and Manohar Lal Khattar – on their actions amid the farmers’ movement against the new central laws, saying that while one had the habit of lying, the other resorted to violence.
“Kejriwal nu jhooth bolan di aadat hai, aur Khattar nu kuttan di (Kejriwal has the habit of lying and Khattar of thrashing),” said the Congress Chief Minister, hitting out at his opponents from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the BJP.
Calling Mr Kejriwal “a slimy fellow who was in the habit of lying”, Captain Singh accused the Delhi Chief Minister of twisting his words and asked him to 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.
The two leaders have been sparring over the farmers’ protest for days. Mr Kejriwal had taken on Captain Singh, saying he has joined hands with the BJP and is upset that the AAP government has not converted the nine stadiums in the city to open jails.
The Punjab Chief Minister also took shots at his Haryana counterpart, saying Mr Khattar’s police force did not spare even elderly farmers as they launched a brutish crackdown on demonstrators passing through their state to protest in Delhi.
Since Kisan Unions had announced their “Delhi Chalo” march in advance, they should have been called for talks, but instead, they were subjected to water cannons and tear gas shells, he said.
In the country’s biggest farm unrest in years, tens of thousands of growers are protesting on the outskirts of Delhi against three central laws seeking to rid the sector of antiquated procurement procedures and allow farmers to sell to institutional buyers and big international retailers.
The farmers, who form a powerful political constituency, fear the laws passed in September could see the government stop buying grains at guaranteed prices, leaving them at the mercy of private buyers.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has defended the new laws and said they only give an option to farmers to sell to private buyers.