Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Saturday accused political parties in Punjab of “sponsoring” the farmers’ movement that has led to scores of protesters descending upon border areas of the national capital over the last three days and added that his Punjab counterpart, Amarinder Singh, has not responded so far to efforts for a dialogue.
Reacting to Khattar’s remarks later in the day, Amarinder condemned the violence that broke out between police and protesting farmers in Haryana and demanded an apology from the Haryana CM.
Speaking to the media in Gurgaon after presiding over a meeting of the district grievance committee, Khattar said, “This movement is primarily being sponsored by political parties in Punjab and some organisations there. I have tried several times to talk to the Chief Minister of Punjab over the last 3 days regarding the movement, but he did not speak to me. We dialed 6-7 times, but each time his staff just kept saying we will get it done now, we will get it done in some time.”
“Such a situation has occurred for the first time that a Chief Minister is trying to talk to another and is not able to do so. In the last 6 years, this has happened for the first time. Earlier, when we called, if he (Amarinder) was busy, we would be able to talk in an hour or so…” he said.
Khattar alleged a political conspiracy in the name of farmers, and termed this “unfortunate and condemnable”.
Meanwhile, Amarinder lashed out a Khattar and said he would not forgive him till the latter issued an apology. “Khattar is lying that he tried calling me earlier and I did not respond. But now, after what he 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,” Amarinder said.
Pointing out that he had held several discussions with the Prime Minister as well as Union Home Minister about the issues of farmers, Amarinder said there was no reason for him to avoid phone calls from a neighbouring state’s Chief Minister.
He also slammed allegations of his involvement in instigating farmers saying, “I am a nationalist to the core, I run a border state and will never do anything to create a law-and-order problem of any kind.”
“I will not take this nonsense from Khattar. Don’t I have better things to do than to incite farmers?” Amarinder said, adding that “sometimes they say it’s Khalistanis who’re managing the protests and sometimes they accuse me of doing it…let them make up their minds”.
— With ENS, Chandigarh