A fresh war of words ensued between Sukhbir Singh Badal and Capt Amarinder Singh with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president accusing the Punjab Chief Minister of “reciting the BJP’s script” due to fear of Enforcement Directorate and the latter hitting back saying that he was not “spineless or a traitor to farmers like the Badals”.
Suukhbir fired the first salvo saying Amarinder has “surrendered” to the BJP after he was summoned to Delhi to be told to “choose between facing the ED and betraying the farmers”.
On Thursday, Amarinder Singh had made an appeal to the Union Home Minister Amit Shah and the protesting farmers to find an early resolution to the impasse over the new farm laws, saying the agitation was affecting Punjab’s economy and the nation’s security.
“The choice he (Amarinder) made became clear with the first thing he said as soon as he came out of the meeting with Amit Shah, telling farmers to end their agitation, citing dangers to national security from this peaceful movement,” Sukhbir said.
Sukhbir alleged that Amarinder’s “cowardly surrender” before the ED and Amit Shah may surprise those who take his “hollow bluster and boastfulness” seriously. “Everyone in Delhi knows what happened in that strange meeting held behind the farmers’ back. Instead of telling the Centre to annul the Acts, he shocked the farmers by telling them to withdraw agitation and accept defeat and go home,” Sukhbir claimed.
“The brave captain merely recited the script given to him by the BJP high command. He sang it like a parrot,” the SAD chief added.
Terming Sukhbir’s comments as “utter buffoonery”, Amarinder said “no ED cases had ever stopped him from fighting for his people, nor was he spineless or a traitor to farmers like the Badals”.
“The Badals, who were totally cornered over their betrayal of the farmers, had clearly pressed all the panic buttons in their desperation to cover up their brazen treachery,”Amarinder said in a statement.
Such is their level of despair that Sukhbir even stooped to undermining the Pakistani threat to the security of Punjab and the nation, Amarinder said, terming it a betrayal to the security forces battling the enemy at the borders every day at the cost of their lives.
“Have you and your SAD become so power-hungry that you have even closed your eyes to the threat posed by the Pakistanis to our security? Are you saying that all those arms, ammunition and drones our brave security forces have captured along the Punjab border are no danger?” he asked while adding that “it seemed that Sukhbir had totally lost it”.
As for the ED cases, the CM asked Sukhbir, “What is new about the ED cases against me or my family that I should suddenly start trembling?” He and his family had been fighting ED and other cases for years, he pointed out, adding that not one of these cases had ever stopped him from risking everything for his people.
In response to the SAD president’s allegation that he (the Chief Minister) had “surrendered to BJP’s blackmail”, Amarinder said, “Do you even know the meaning of blackmail? It was you and your party who had been ‘pandering’ to BJP’s interests and giving in to their pressure as their allies all these years”.
The CM said “had I succumbed to so-called blackmail, I would not have brought the amendment Bills in the state Assembly but, like Delhi CM, would have notified the Central laws long ago”. So stop lying and misleading the people, he said, adding that nobody was going to be taken in by these falsehoods of the Akalis, whose double-speak on the farm laws and the farmers’ issues had been exposed more than once. “Whose blackmail did you surrender to when you did a U-turn over the state amendment Bills after backing them in Vidhan Sabha?” he asked Sukhbir.
Amarinder asked the Akali leader what “warning” he was referring to. “Can you cite even a single instance when I asked the farmers to withdraw their agitation?” he asked, adding that it was evident that like Harsimrat Badal, Sukhbir had no understanding of plain and simple English. “Don’t you know the difference between urging farmers and Centre to find an early solution and issuing a warning?” he asked Sukhbir.
The theatrics and lies of the entire Badal clan are not going to help them salvage their reputation in the eyes of the farmers, or the rest of Punjab, the CM said, pointing out that not long ago, all of them were openly and publicly backing the Central laws and are now claiming to be the messiahs of the farmers. The people still haven’t forgotten Prakash Singh Badal’s videos supporting the farm laws of the Central government, nor have they forgiven Harsimrat for stamping her approval on the ordinances as a member of the Union Cabinet, and nor have Sukhbir’s charades and flip-flops on the issue gone unnoticed, he added.
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