Haryana, Punjab CMs duel over farmers' protests

Haryana CM Khattar, Punjab CM Singh engage in verbal duel over farmers' protests

Singh slammed Khattar for defending the “criminal assault” on farmers protesting peacefully at Karnal

Manohar Lal Khattar (L) and Amarinder Singh. Credit: PTI Photo

The chief ministers of Haryana and Punjab were engaged in a war of words over the lathicharge on farmers at Karnal where they were protesting against the three farm laws.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh demanded the resignation of Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar who said the “strict” police action on farmers was necessary for maintaining law and order.

“Who is he to demand my resignation? Instead, he should resign because farmers from Punjab are protesting in Delhi,” Khattar hit back at Singh.

Khattar also accused the Punjab Chief Minister and other Congress leaders, including Bhupinder Singh Hooda of instigating the farmers who were protesting at Singhu and Tikri borders demanding repeal of the three farm laws.

Singh slammed Khattar for defending the “criminal assault” on farmers protesting peacefully at Karnal and accused the BJP-JJP coalition government in Haryana of being “anti-farmer”.

“Can’t you see that the farmers of your own state are angry with you for your apathetic attitude towards them and your party’s stubborn refusal to repeal the farm laws,” Singh asked.

Khattar claimed that farmers from Haryana were neither at the Singhu border nor at the Tikri borders – the sites of the nine-month-long agitation against farm sector reforms at the doorsteps of the national capital.

He accused the Punjab government of supporting the farmers' protests, claiming that farmers' leader Balbir Singh Rajewal was seen sharing sweets with the Punjab Chief Minister.

“You repeal the farm laws and not just the farmers but even I will share ladoos with you,” Singh hit back, noting that the farmers had shared sweets with him after the resolution of the sugarcane growers' protests.

Khattar claimed that farmers from Punjab were protesting at the Delhi borders and some from Haryana who were there harboured political ambitions.

The Haryana chief minister said that the video of a sub-divisional magistrate asking policemen to “crack the heads” of protestors was from a different place, about 12 km away from where the lathicharge on farmers had taken place.

Khattar said the IAS officer’s “choice of words was inappropriate” but defended the police action.

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