Chandigarh, November 2: Punjab Cabinet Ministers on Monday hit out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over its atrocious charges against the Chief Minister, saying it was the BJP state leadership that was misleading the farmers and spreading shocking lies to save their skin, after being completely cornered on the issue of the draconian Farm Laws.

Not only was the BJP in Punjab trying desperately to fool the farmers with regard to the agricultural laws of the central government but their leaders and workers were actively indulging in brazen falsehoods in a bid to exploit the sensitive and critical issue to promote their political interests, the Cabinet Ministers said in a joint statement. The fact of the matter was that the BJP was trying to incite farmers against the Chief Minister for their own political gains, they said.

In a hard-hitting reaction to BJP Punjab president Ashwani Sharma’s accusations against Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, the Ministers said it was obvious that the leaders of the party, which was at the centre of the ill-conceived Farm Laws, were either oblivious to the concerns of the farmers or simply did not care. “The farmers don’t need any instigation. They are hurt and shocked at the treatment being meted out to them by the BJP-led central government. They are fighting to save their livelihood and to survive. But clearly, Sharma, like other BJP leaders, has no realisation of this,” they said.

The Ministers scorned the allegation of the Congress government in Punjab, headed by Captain Amarinder, being responsible for the continued farmer protests and suspension of the goods trains. “Did we also mislead all those BJP leaders in the state who have quit in protest against the Farm Laws in recent days?” they asked, trashing Sharma’s accusation that the Chief Minister was misleading farmers as ridiculous to the extreme. Recalling that the Centre had not suspended movement of trains in Punjab even during the dark days of terrorism, the Ministers said the reasons of law and order cited by the Railways in the present instance was inexplicable, especially since the farmers had already announced their decision to allow transport of supplies by trains.

Pointing out that the security and safety of trains was the responsibility of the Railway Protection Force (RPF), with the state government having no say in the matter, the Ministers asked what the Captain Amarinder government had to do with the safe movement of trains. This was not the first time tracks had been blocked by farmers in a state, they said, adding that instances of such blockades had been reported in many places, irrespective of the government in power, even in the past. “So does that mean the chief minister of that state becomes responsible,” they quipped.

In any case, said the Ministers, it was illogical to even contemplate a chief minister indulging in an act that was causing massive economic losses to this own state, besides causing misery to his own people. That is not the way Congress chief ministers function, they said, quipping that “perhaps that’s the way of BJP chief ministers.”

Punjab’s industry is suffering, its agriculture is suffering, and the economy, which is already severely impacted by the Centre’s failure to release the state’s dues amid Covid, is further crashing day by day as a result of the suspension of the goods trains by the Railways, the Ministers pointed out. In such circumstances, it was foolhardy to even think of Captain Amarinder indulging in politics instead of trying hard to resolve the crisis, they added, asking the BJP leader to stop playing with the sentiments of the farmers, who were already going through unprecedented anguish and pain.

Reacting to Sharma’s allegation of Captain Amarinder failing to maintain law and order in the state, the Ministers suggested that the BJP Punjab chief should go and speak to the people, who had seen first-hand under the SAD-BJP regime what failure of law and order means. Captain Amarinder had successfully ended the goonda and mafia raj that prevailed during the Akali-BJP government, and ushered in an era of peace in which people could breathe freely, without fear, and industry and investment was coming back, they pointed out.

Citing the Chief Minister’s repeated statements urging all parties to rise above politics to resolve the crisis in the interest of not just the state but the nation, the Ministers said it was unfortunate that instead of responding positively, the BJP continued to indulge in political games at the cost of the farmers. But the farmers of Punjab know who is indulging in hypocrisy and who is sincere to their cause, they added.

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