Reacting strongly to governor VP Singh Badnore’s summons to Punjab’s top officials over vandalism of mobile towers last month, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Saturday accused the BJP of dragging the constitutional office into its “unsavoury agenda”. Amarinder Singh said the governor has “bowed down” to the party’s propaganda on the state’s law and order. “Summon me, not my officers if you want any clarification,” the Chief Minister said in a statement.
Captain Singh, who looks after the state’s home portfolio, said that the BJP, by raising questions on the state’s law and order, is trying to deflect attention from the protests against the three contentious agriculture laws.
“While the propaganda of the BJP on collapse of law and order in the state was nothing more than a tactic to divert attention from the farm laws issue and the resultant farmers’ agitation, if the governor nevertheless had any concerns on the situation, he should have taken up the matter directly with me as custodian of the Home Portfolio,” a Punjab government statement quoted him as saying.
“At a time when the very existence of our farmers is at stake, the BJP leaders are busy indulging in petty politics and also dragging the Constitutional office of the Governor into their unsavoury agenda,” he added.
Hundreds of mobile towers in Punjab, mostly belonging to Reliance Jio, were put out of action last month, allegedly by farmers protesting the centre’s agriculture laws. Captain Singh had issued a stern warning regarding the incident and had asked the police to take action against those responsible.
Captain Singh today said that the BJP is trying to undermine the peaceful agitation against the laws by terming a “few minor incidents of damage to some mobile towers as a law-and-order problem”.
“These damaged towers can be and are being repaired, but what about the lives of the farmers lost in the bitter cold at Delhi borders, where they continue to fight for their rights amid total apathy from the BJP-led government at the centre?” he asked.
Farmers, mainly from Punjab and Haryana, have been protesting the laws for weeks in and around the national capital. They fear that the laws will phase out the traditional crop markets and the minimum support price guarantee and make them susceptible to exploitation by big corporate houses.
The protesting farmers have targetted some Punjab BJP leaders in the last few days to press for their demand of a repeal of the laws.
On Friday, a tractor trolley carrying cow dung was unloaded in front of the house of a BJP leader in Punjab’s Hoshiarpur.
Last month, a group of BJP leaders in Punjab’s Phagwara had to slip out from the backdoor under police protection after the protesting farmers picketed a hotel.