Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and his Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal on Monday once again engaged in an argument on Twitter, accusing each other of “serving political purposes” and “maintaining double standards” over the ongoing farmers’ protests.
The feud sparked off after Singh in a tweet said “every Punjabi knows” he would not be intimidated by the Enforcement Directorate. This was in response to Kejriwal’s previous tweet accusing the Punjab chief minister of “selling off” the protests, to save his son from an Enforcement Directorate case.
Singh in his tweet then went on to say that Kejriwal would “even sell his soul” to serve political purposes. “Farmers of India and particularly Punjab know that you Mr Arvind Kejriwal have sold off the interest of farmers by notifying one of the draconian farm bills in Delhi on 23rd November,” Singh said in a separate tweet.
Soon enough, Kejriwal hit back at Singh claiming that he was part of a committee that drafted the three new agriculture bills and hinted at the Punjab chief minister’s collusion with the Bharatiya Janata Party. “Captain sahib, why do BJP leaders never accuse u [you] of double standards the way they accuse all other leaders?” he tweeted.
The war of words, however, did not end there as Singh responded to Kejriwal’s claim saying that the laws were not discussed in any meeting.
As for the Delhi chief minister’s apparent reference to Singh’s relation with the BJP, he said: “And naturally BJP can’t accuse me of double standards as I don’t have any nexus with them like you have.”
The two chief ministers have been at loggerheads for several days now. On Sunday, Singh had criticised Kejriwal after the Delhi chief minister announced that he would observe a one-day fast in response to the call given by the farmers. Singh said that Kejriwal was “exploiting” the farmers’ agitation to “further his party’s petty electoral agenda with blatant lies and brazenly false propaganda”.
He had criticised the Delhi chief minister for notifying the farm laws earlier as well. On December 2, Kejriwal had accused the Punjab chief minister of indulging in “low-level” politics. “Punjab CM has made allegations against me that I’ve passed the black laws in Delhi,” Kejriwal had said. “How can he do such low-level politics in this fragile situation? It’s not up to the state government to implement it. Had it been so why would farmers of the country hold talks with Centre.”
Farm law protests
The farmers’ agitation against the new laws entered its 20th day on Monday. Tens of thousands of farmers have been protesting at key entry points to Delhi.
The farmers fear the agricultural reforms will weaken the minimum support price mechanism under which the government buys agricultural produce, will lead to the deregulation of crop-pricing, deny them fair remuneration for their produce and leave them at the mercy of corporations.
The government, on the other hand, maintains that the new laws will give farmers more options in selling their produce, lead to better pricing, and free them from unfair monopolies.
On December 9, the farmers had rejected the Centre’s written proposal on the amendments it was willing to make to the three agriculture laws, and threatened to intensify their protests. Both parties had also held several rounds of talks but failed to reach a consensus.