CHANDIGARH: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday expressed shock over the recent statements of senior BJP leaders, including the Union and Haryana Agriculture Ministers, on the deaths of protesting farmers, saying the party had lost the moral and ethical right to continue to rule at the Centre and in the state.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government at the Centre should step down in the interest of the nation, as should the Manohar Lal Khattar government in Haryana, he said, slamming Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar's and state Agriculture Minister J.P. Dalal's statements on the deaths of farmers protesting against the farm laws at the borders of the national capital for more than two months now.
Punjab alone has paid compensation to families of 102 farmers who have died in these protests, said the Chief Minister, lashing out at Tomar over his "outrageous statement" citing Delhi Police information that only two farmers have died and one has committed suicide.
Even the media has released details of more than 200 farmers (from various states) who have lost their lives in this agitation, Amarinder Singh pointed out, while also lambasting Dalal over the latter's "insensitive remark" that farmers who have died in this agitation would have died sitting at homes anyway.
The Chief Minister also slammed Tomar over his statement that the Central government has no plans to provide financial assistance from the KisanKalyan Fund to the families of the deceased farmers. "It was deplorable that a government that can spend Rs 8 crore on publicity campaign for the new farm laws cannot give compensation to the families of the farmers who have sacrificed their lives in fighting for their rights," he said.
"These statements of Tomar and Dalal reflect a shocking lack of concern on the part of the BJP leadership towards the farmers who have been braving the elements and the lathis of Delhi and Haryana Police in their fight for survival," he said.
Referring to Tomar's claim that the Centre has no count of the deceased farmers, Amarinder Singh said it was appalling that a government which claimed to be working in the interest of the farmers does not even know how many farmers had died in the protests against their farm laws, just as they had no idea, some months ago, on how many migrants had died in the country during the lockdown.
"What kind of government is this that has no data (or so it claims) of people dying on the streets in their own country," he asked.
"Either the Agriculture Minister deliberately lied on the floor of the House or simply does not care to even ascertain the facts and figures," he said, adding that this was not the first time a Central minister had made a false statement in Parliament on the issue of the farm laws or the farmers' agitation. (IANS)