Farmers’ Protest: Amarinder Singh Calls for Return of Padma Prize for Badal ‘Theatrics’
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday referred to Akali Dal’s stalwart Parkash Singh Badal’s decision to return his Padma Vibhushan theater and wondered why he was awarded the second highest civilian honor in the country.
Badal had returned his Padma Vibhushan award on Thursday in protest against the Center’s new agricultural laws, which thousands of Punjab farmers are now protesting at the Delhi borders.
“I don’t know why Parkash Singh Badal got the Padma Vibhushan in the first place,” Singh said in a statement that also attacked AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal, calling him a “slimy guy.” The Punjab CM said Lieutenant General Harbaksh Singh got the Padma Vibhushan for winning the 1965 war with Pakistan and scoffed, “What war did Parkash Singh Badal fight or what sacrifice did he make for the community?” Singh claimed that the former CM now says he has made a great sacrifice by returning the award.
“Stop politicking about this,” he said. “This ‘dramebaazi’ (theater) could have worked 40 years ago, but it doesn’t work now.” Previously, the Aam Aadmi Party, the main opposition in Punjab, had also called Badal’s gesture “drama”.
Amarinder Singh said that Badal has claimed all his life that he represents the interests of farmers. “So why did your party support the central ordinances after initially opposing them, and then it turned around and began to publicly criticize the legislation,” he said.
He said that as a member of the Union Cabinet, Harsimrat Kaur Badal was a very important part of the meeting that passed the agricultural ordinances.
“Is she illiterate who can’t read?” He asked, referring to the former Union minister and Badal’s daughter-in-law, who later resigned from Narendra Modi’s cabinet over the controversial farm laws.
He also criticized Delhi’s chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal, for allegedly misrepresenting his statement on national security. The AAP had targeted Singh for linking the farmers’ unrest to national security, in remarks made after a meeting with the Union Minister of the Interior, Amit Shah.
Singh said on Friday that he had told Shah that the amendment bills passed in Punjab Vidhan Sabha were the solution to break the deadlock on the farmers’ issue.
Describing Kejriwal as a “slimy guy” who had a “habit of lying,” Amarinder asked the Delhi prime minister to first explain why his government had notified one of the central agricultural laws.
“When other opposition-ruled states, including Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, have passed amendment bills to counteract the core laws, why didn’t he convene a session of the Delhi Assembly to reject the latter?” He asked.
“Doesn’t Kejriwal have villages around Delhi?” he said.
He claimed that while Kejriwal has a habit of lying, his Haryana counterpart, ML Khattar, has a habit of beating people, an apparent reference to attempts by that state’s police to stop Punjab farmers from marching towards Delhi.
The Conngress leader said he is not afraid of the Directorate of Enforcement, reacting to accusations from rivals that he is under pressure from central agencies.
“For 13 years, I have been going to court because of the cases brought against me by the Badals, I am not worried about ED. I can go to court and fight for another 13 years, ”he said.