Launching a frontal attack against BJP leaders over their reprehensible statements against the farmers, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday asserted that the famers and farm workers of Punjab are not anti-nationals but are the same patriotic and nationalistic people who gave their lives for the country in Galwan valley last year to protect India’s integrity and sovereignty. Calling for an immediate end to attempts to defame the dynamic Punjabi farmers by branding them miscreants or ultras, the Chief Minister said in the Vidhan Sabha that “they have never done anything anti-national, they are not anti-national, and they will never do anything against the unity and integrity of this country.”“They are patriotic and nationalistic – while one son ploughs the fields in the village, the other brother is busy guarding the country’s borders. These are the same people who gave their lives for the country, along with soldiers from other States too, in Galwan last year protecting the sovereignty of our country,” said the Chief Minister, urging the Government of India to ensure that this defamation campaign against farmers is immediately ended.Pointing out that despite 11 rounds of discussions, the Government of India was unmoved and unconcerned about the protests of the farmers across the country, and had not taken any positive step to meet their demands, the Chief Minister said that “Instead, the statements and allegations of some of the leaders who are not familiar with the ground realities have aggravated the situation and have further anguished the farmers.”Drawing the attention of the House to some of the most reprehensible statements of the BJP leaders, at the Centre and in Haryana, the Chief Minister said it was shameful that they were heading the governments at the national level and in the neighbouring states. Their statements raised the worries and apprehensions not only of the farmers and farm workers but also of our government as these do not augur well for our future, the Chief Minister strongly condemning the use of terms “anti-national and Khalistanis” against the farmers.
Taking strong exception to Union Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Minister Piyush Goyal’s allegation of the Punjab government trying to mislead farmers, the Chief Minister said there was no reason for his government to interfere in the farmers’ agitation as they had always been peaceful. The Punjab Government has always supported the farmers, and shall continue to protect their interests in all circumstances, he asserted. He also slammed Goyal on the latter’s totally baseless and malicious claim that Maoists and anti-national elements have hijacked the farmers’ protest, advising him not to provoke the peaceful farmers. In any case, if Goyal has any information on anti-nationals being part of the agitation, why does his government not take action against them.Reacting sharply to BJP National Secretary Tarun Chugh’s allegation of misleading and deceptive narrative being created on the agricultural bills and causing misunderstanding to spread among the farmers, the Chief Minister asked why the Government of India, with all the powers at its disposal, has failed to create a narrative favourable to the farmers.Referring to disgraceful remarks of Haryana Agriculture Minister JP Dalal that the farmers who lost their lives during the agitation would in any case have died in their respective homes, the Chief Minister said he had believed that the duty of the Agriculture Minister is to speak of farmers’ welfare and their well-being and not undermine their hard work and sacrifice. He demanded an unconditional apology from Dalal for his insensitive conduct, pointing out that a more than 200 farmers (including 125 from Punjab) had so far died during the agitation.Terming Haryana Chief ML Khattar’s conduct “most regrettable”, Captain Amarinder said the Government of the neighbouring state had gone against the established norms of democratic functioning by using force against the agitators and also digging roads and putting barricades etc in their way. He also lashed out at Khattar’s claim on his government having “inputs” on presence of Khalistani separatists in the ongoing farmers’ agitation, and also that “the Punjab Chief Minister is fanning this protest and office bearers of the Punjab Chief Minister’s office are leading the protest”. If the Haryana Chief Minister has any firm information on separatist, why does he not give such information to his party’s government in Delhi, instead of defaming the Punjabi farmers, asked Captain Amarinder, adding that Punjab does not instigate agitations, but refuses to interfere in most peaceful agitation of farmers being carried on in a democratic manner.The Chief Minister also lambasted other BJP leaders like Ashwani Sharma, Harjit Singh Grewal and Surjit Singh Jiyani for their shameful comments and statements on the farmers’ agitation, terming their behaviour as disgraceful.