As thousands of farmers gathered at Delhi's Burari ground in protest against the Centre's recently-passed farm laws, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday said the farmers are his people and it is his duty to stand with them. Singh said the farmers were scared of losing their lands and old system and do not know how to deal with industrialists. Though the central government has assured them that the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of their produce will not end, the farmers want a legal assurance, he said.
"What is the issue in putting in a clause for MSP? Why cant they say that MSP will be protected and that the mandi system will be protected...what is the problem here?" Singh told CNN-News18 in an interview.
Responding to his Haryana counterpart Manohar Lal Khattar's allegations, Singh said he will not speak to him until the latter apologises to the farmers attacked by the state's police. "Why is he stopping our farmers? Why did he have to fire gas at them? I have spoken to PM and the Agriculture Minister, so why can’t I speak to Khattar? He has failed and is now blaming me for this," he said.
"Who cares about what Khattar says? These protests were spontaneous. He is leveling allegations on us because he has failed. He is shooting his gun by placing it on my shoulders," he added.
Blaming Khattar for his failure to handle the situation, Singh said that the Haryana chief minister was speaking lies and he did not received any call or message from the latter. "No matter how bad the situation is, it will only end with a negotiation. The government knew that they were coming to Delhi, they could have resolved this matter," he added.
Singh also criticised Khattar's allegations of "Khalistani" interference in the protests, saying, "Is Amarinder a Khalistani? When they are not able to deal with a problem, they start blaming others...these allegations (of interference) are all wrong."
"No political party is involved in the protests. These farmers belong to Haryana and Punjab. I know which groups have marched from Punjab but Khattar clearly does not know what is happening with farmers from his state. We would like to have a resolution. I don't want my farmer to freeze and suffer," he said.