Meghalaya Governor Satya Pal Malik on Sunday claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had behaved arrogantly when the two met to discuss the protests against the three farm laws, reported The Indian Express.
“When I went to meet the prime minister to discuss the farmer issue, I ended up fighting with him within five minutes,” Malik said at an event in Haryana’s Charkhi Dadri district. “He [Modi] was very arrogant. When I told him that 500 of our own [farmers] had died...he said, ‘Did they die for me?’ I told him yes, since you are the king. I ended up having an argument with him. He told me to meet Amit Shah and I did.”
The three farm laws were repealed on December 1 after over a year of protests by farmers.
Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge on Monday shared a longer version of the same video on Twitter. In the longer clip, Malik can be heard saying: “When I met Amit Shah, he told me ‘Satya, he has lost his mind. You be carefree and keep meeting us’.”
Shah was allegedly referring to Modi, Malik claimed, according to NDTV.
Kharge questioned the prime minister’s attitude on the farmers protests. “Meghalaya’s Governor Sri Satya Pal Malik is on record saying PM was ‘arrogant’ on the issue of farmers and Home Minister Amit Shah called the PM as ‘mad’,” he wrote in a tweet. “Constitutional authorities speaking about each other with such contempt! Narendra Modiji is this true?”
The Congress’ official Twitter account said that the video showed “vanity, cruelty and insensitivity”. The party added, “In BJP-appointed governor’s statement, these ‘qualities’ of prime minister Modi’s personality are mentioned. This is a matter of concern for a democracy.”
In another tweet, the Congress alleged that it was the prime minister’s arrogance about the three farm laws “which forced farmers to agitate on the streets for more than a year” and caused deaths of over 700 farmers. “The country has paid a big price for PM Modi’s arrogance,” the tweet said.
On Sunday, Malik, a Bharatiya Janata Party leader, also said that the central government would have to work honestly towards withdrawing the cases registered against farmers during the protests. He demanded that a legal framework for the minimum support price for crops should also be provided.
“But if the government thinks the agitation has ended, it is not so,” Malik said, according to NDTV. “It has only been suspended. If there is injustice or if there are any excesses with farmers, then the stir will start again.”
The governor has criticised the Modi-led Union government several times in the past on the way it handled the farmers protests. The three farm laws were repealed on December 1 after over a year of protests by farmers.
On November 7, the governor had said that he had advised the prime minister not to upset the Sikh and Jat communities, whose members formed the bulk of protestors agitating against the farm laws.
Malik, who served as Jammu and Kashmir’s lieutenant governor before being posted in Meghalaya, said that he knew he had been appointed by “two to three powerful people in Delhi”. He added, “I know that I am speaking against their wishes. I will quit the day they ask me to.”
In October, Malik had said that the Centre should give a legal guarantee to farmers about minimum support price for crops.
Thousands of farmers had built tent cities at Delhi’s border points from November 2020, demanding that the Centre repeal the three laws that proposed to open up the country’s agriculture markets to private companies. The farmers feared that the policies would make them vulnerable to corporate exploitation and would dismantle the minimum support price regime.
During the protests, the government continued to claim that the three legislations were pro-farmers.
But on November 19, on the occasion of Guru Parab, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that his government would repeal the laws during the Winter Session of Parliament. The announcement came months ahead of the Assembly elections in Punjab.