Chandigarh, Dec 2 : In a scathing response to his Delhi counterpart's attack on him over the farmers' issue, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday lashed out at Arvind Kejriwal for stooping to a low level of politics and indulging in brazen double-speak in a desperate bid to wriggle out of his own failure to protect the interests of the farming community.
Slamming the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief for undermining the farmers' fight by notifying one of the central laws in Delhi, Amarinder Singh asked Kejriwal, "Why did you not stand against the Centre by passing your own state legislations like we did in Punjab?" The Chief Minister trashed Kejriwal's assertion that states are helpless against the Central farm laws, and said it is clear that the AAP leader did not even want to try to fight the draconian legislations.
"Why else did he not bring any legislation in the state assembly to at least try and negate some of the ill-effects of the Central laws," asked Amarinder Singh.
Instead of just meekly notifying the Central laws, Kejriwal could have tried to make some effort to counter them and protect the rights of the farmers, Amarinder Singh said in a statement.
As for the legality of the Punjab state amendment bills, the Chief Minister pointed out that these are valid under the Constitution and have a strong precedent in the bills that were passed by the Gujarat government in 2015 under Article 254 (II) of the Constitution to oppose the Centre's land acquisition laws.
In fact, the then President Pranab Mukherjee had cleared the Gujarat bills, he added.
Reacting to Kejriwal's comment on the Centre being angry with him because his government did not allow Delhi's stadia to be used as jails for the farmers, Amarinder Singh said it is quite apparent that the AAP leader, whose survival depends on the Central government, is more worried about angering the latter than about the plight of the farmers.
The Chief Minister also lambasted Kejriwal for misleading the people on the committee formed by the Central government last year on agricultural reforms.
Not once were these black laws discussed or even mentioned in the committee, he reiterated, castigating the Delhi Chief Minister for indulging in falsehoods and dirty politics while pretending to be opposing any politicking on the farmers' issue.
Dubbing Kejriwal's latest statement attacking him (Amarinder) and appealing to the Centre to address the farmers' concerns as mere hogwash, the Punjab Chief Minister said the AAP leader's actions have thoroughly exposed the hollowness of his remarks.
It is evident that Kejriwal is only playing to the sentiments of the farmers now because his party has completely lost the political narrative in Punjab, where AAP has its eyes on the 2022 Assembly polls, Amarinder Singh added.
"The farmers are not taken in by your crocodile tears," he said.