The farmer agitations have triggered an intense war of words between the leadership of two neighbouring states — Haryana and Punjab — which may spiral into a major flashpoint between the states governed by different political parties.
With elections in Punjab approaching, there is likelihood of the state leadership adopting a more strident approach so they come across to be on the side of the farmers. On the other hand, the BJP-led Haryana government has equally been vociferous in accusing the Punjab leadership of fomenting trouble. Both the CMs have been pointing fingers at each other whenever violence had erupted due to the farmers’ agitation, especially in Haryana.
Here’s a look at the war of words between the two state governments:
— Haryana Agriculture Minister JP Dalal alleged that the protests were sponsored by the Punjab government.
— Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has been openly critical of his Punjab counterpart. When the farmers announced the gherao of the mini-secretariat, Khattar had put the onus on the Punjab government. “I want to warn them that they have chosen a wrong place – Haryana,” he said.
— Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, however, trashed the allegations reminding Khattar that he had let loose a reign of terror on farmers through his police force.
— Khattar, in turn, alleged a nexus between the Punjab government and farmer leaders. “You can imagine the nexus. I get inputs from time to time on the number of people from each state at the protest sites, and it has been established that 85% of those sitting at Tikri and Singhu (on the Delhi border) are from Punjab,” said Khattar in a no-holds-barred attack on Capt recently.
— Khattar’s remark, which coincided with his government’s celebration of 2,500 days in office, led Amarinder to advise the BJP to pay heed to the cries of these protesting farmers before it was too late. “A government or a political party that allows such tragic and totally avoidable loss of lives to continue under its watch cannot survive,” he said. “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?”
— Khattar, however, had claimed farmers from his state were “busy with their work” and “satisfied with the government”. Only those with political aspirations are giving wind to the agitation, he alleged.