New Delhi/Chandigarh Jan 31 (PTI) A fresh war of words has erupted between the AAP and the ruling Congress in Punjab, with the former demanding police security for protesting farmers at Delhi borders and Chief Minister Amarinder Singh terming it 'arbitrary, absurd and irrational'.
In a letter to Singh on Sunday, AAP spokesperson Raghav Chadha said the Punjab Police must provide protection to farmers so that no harm is done to them and they can continue to protest against the 'black farm laws' in a peaceful manner.
'The Aam Aadmi Party demands that you deploy Punjab Police in sufficient numbers to surround the camps where the peaceful protests are being held,' he said, adding, 'This protection is absolutely essential in the light of recent attacks on them, engineered and executed by goons from BJP.' Reacting to the letter, the Punjab chief minister said that Arvind Kejriwal's party has 'clearly lost all sense of constitutional and legal propriety, and was completely ignorant even on the law laid down by the highest court of the land.' 'This demand is not only completely illogical and frivolous but against all principles and rules of the law,' Singh said in a statement.
He pointed out that according to a Union Home Ministry directive and a Supreme Court order, the Punjab Police cannot stay in another state for more than 72 hours even for a protectee, which is not the case with the farmers.
'So, this would mean that even if I sign an order today declaring some, if not all, farmers out there as protectees, which is really neither feasible nor realistic, that would mean the Punjab Police can only be with them for 72 hours and not more,' Singh said. 'This further means that as chief minister of Punjab, which I definitely am for all intents and purposes, howsoever much AAP may wish otherwise, my hands are tied by the law, which your party has clearly no respect for,' he stated.
The chief minister said that AAP's 'pathetic' letter exposed nothing but 'their desperation to seize Punjab's reins by hook or by crook'.
Hitting out at the AAP's criticism of Sunil Jakhar's statement on this issue, the chief minister said it was not the Punjab Congress president who was indulging in 'absurdity' but AAP, which clearly does not know the difference between a protectee and a non-protectee citizen.
'Perhaps you should ask your own chief minister in Delhi about this, though there is no guarantee that Kejriwal would know any better, given his track record of poor governance and ignorance,' Singh said.
The Punjab chief minister termed the letter from AAP 'nothing more than a tactic' by the party to 'divert public attention from its own role in the Red Fort violence', which had exposed the farmers to 'attacks and victimization by the Delhi Police'.
'The AAP's own men were caught on camera inciting trouble at the Red Fort on Republic Day,' he alleged, adding the 'collusion' between the AAP and BJP on the farm laws was 'exposed' when Kejriwal notified one of the laws in his own state.
Lashing out at AAP for conspiring with the BJP to sabotage the farmers' agitation, Amarinder Singh said the demand for police protection for farmers was 'nothing more than theatrics by this party'.
Raghav Chadha on Saturday too had asked the Punjab government to deploy the state police personnel to provide security to agitating farmers. However, the Punjab Congress had ridiculed the demand of the main opposition party, saying it was not running an 'anarchist' government in the state. Chadha on Sunday also attacked the BJP over the issue, alleging the party proposes to continue its 'attitude of intimidating' any person who dares to raise a voice in opposition.
'It is very obvious from the recent behaviour of goons that have been disrupting meetings by pelting stones and other violent behaviour that the BJP will, in keeping with its standard modus operandi, (keep) attempting to intimidate our farmer sisters and brothers,' he added. PTI UZM CHS VSD NSD NSD