Will not answer Khattar’s calls unless he apologises: Amarinder
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said on Saturday that he will not speak to his counterpart in Haryana Manohar Lal Khattar if he does not apologise to farmers for "inflicting brutality" during their march to Delhi.
According to a statement, the Punjab chief minister also denied allegations that he did not speak to Khattar over the issue despite the Haryana chief minister’s repeated attempts.
“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, said Singh, while wanting him to apologise to the farmers.
His reaction came after Khattar on Saturday alleged that his counterpart did not respond to his repeated attempts to speak with him over the phone for three days, despite him wanting to talk to Singh regarding the farmers issue.
Khattar also alleged a conspiracy about the Punjab Chief Minister’s Office giving directions to the farmers to protest against the farm laws.
Amarinder Singh said there is no way he would talk to Khattar again-- neighbour or no neighbour --after Haryana's use of water cannons and teargas shells against farmers.
Singh said if he could talk to the prime minister and the Union home minister so many times on the farmers' issue, why would he have not taken calls from a neighbouring chief minister if he had truly called earlier.
“Who's Khattar to come in between? What business does he have interfering in this whole affair,” Singh asked, questioning his decision of not allowing the farmers to go to Delhi.
He also slammed the Haryana CM about his allegations regarding the Punjab PMO.
“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, he asserted, the Punjab CM said.
For 60 days, the farmers were blocking Punjab's railway tracks, causing more than Rs 43,000 crore in losses to the state, without any problem. I will not take this nonsense from Khattar. Don't I have better things to do than to incite farmers, he asked. 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,” said Amarinder Singh.
“The CM declared that no political party was involved in the farmers' protests, which were a spontaneous reaction of farmers who were fighting for their future,” the statement says.
Condemning Khattar’s allegations of farmers not abiding law and order, Singh said that Punjabis are law-abiding citizens and it is Haryana which is damaging public property and blocking the highways to stop farmers.
Terming as ludicrous Khattar's claim that Haryana farmers are not part of the Delhi Chalo agitation, Amarider Singh said Punjab's intelligence showed that as many as 40,000-50,000 farmers from the neighbouring state have joined the march to the national capital, which even the Centre's intelligence reports would have borne out.
“He (Khattar) doesn't know what's happening in his own state and he's telling me what to do in my state”, said Amarinder.