Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal on Saturday slammed Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh over his recent meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and accused him of "reciting the BJP's script" for allegedly linking farmers' agitation to national security. Amarinder has "surrendered" to the BJP after he was summoned to Delhi to be told to "choose between facing the Enforcement Directorate and betraying the farmers", Badal alleged.
On Thursday, Amarinder Singh had made an appeal to the Union home minister and the protesting farmers to find an early resolution to the impasse over the new farm laws, saying the agitation was affecting Punjab's economy and the nation's security. "The choice he (Amarinder) made became clear with the first thing he said as soon as he came out of the meeting with Amit Shah, telling farmers to end their agitation, citing dangers to national security from this peaceful movement," Badal said in a statement here.
The chief minister had clarified that he never called farmers a threat to national security. He said "his remarks were in context of a prolonged stand-off which our hostile neighbours, whom the sons of these very farmers are fighting, can exploit". On Friday, Amarinder Singh also said that he was not scared of the Enforcement Directorate or anyone else.
But Badal alleged that Amarinder Singh's "cowardly surrender" before the ED and Amit Shah may surprise those who take his "hollow bluster and boastfulness" seriously. "Everyone in Delhi knows what happened in that strange meeting held behind the farmers' back," the SAD chief said.
"Instead of telling the Centre to annul the Acts, he shocked the farmers by telling them to withdraw agitation and accept defeat and go home," he claimed. "The brave captain merely recited the script given to him by the BJP high command. He sang it like a parrot," Badal added. Thousands of farmers from the state are now camping at the border of Delhi, demanding the repeal of the Centre' three new farm laws that they say will lead to the phasing out of the minimum support price (MSP) system, which the government denies.