by IANS |
Chandigarh, Nov 29 (IANS) Trashing the call records released by his Haryana counterpart as "a complete fraud", Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday said flaunting a page of his office register cannot condone Manohar Lal Khattar's "lies", and if he had really wanted to connect, he could easily have used official channels or called up on the mobile phone.
Dismissing it as "a pathetic attempt" by Khattar to prove his claims, Amarinder Singh contended by releasing the call record copies, purporting to be of his office's attempt to get in touch with him, the Haryana Chief Minister had, in fact, exposed his deception even more sharply.
"If at all someone from his office called my residence, why were the calls made to an attendant? Why were official channels not used to get in touch with me?" asked the Punjab Chief Minister.
"Top officials of the two governments, at Principal Secretary and DGP levels among others, have been in touch with each other on the farmers' issue for the past several days, yet none of these officials conveyed Khattar's desire to talk to me at any point in time," the Chief Minister pointed out, adding that his Haryana counterpart's attempt to seize high moral ground on the farmers' 'Dilli Challo' march was "pathetic".
"How many times in the past has Khattar used the attendant channel to get in touch with me," he asked, asking the Haryana Chief Minister "to stop lying".
"I have an attendant to receive calls at my residence only from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m, as I don't believe in ill-treating my staff members. Khattar could simply have picked up the phone and called me on my mobile phone," Amarinder Singh said, adding that "the fact of the matter was that the Haryana CM was out to suppress the farmers and had no serious intent of discussing their protests with him".
"If I can talk to a whole lot of central leaders, right from the Prime Minister, on the issue of the farmers' protest, why would I try to wriggle out of talking to Khattar on the same?" he quipped, assailing his counterpart in the neighbouring state for politicising the genuine demands of the farmers and their very real on-ground fight for survival.
The Chief Minister also lashed out at Khattar over his remarks that "Amarinder would be responsible if Covid spreads now due to the farmers' protest".
"If he (Khattar) was so concerned about farmers spreading Covid in Haryana, whose track record in the pandemic remains extremely poor, he should not have stopped them within the state, but should have allowed them to move quickly through to Delhi," he said.
On Khattar's remark that farmers should not block Haryana's borders, Amarinder Singh pointed out that it was Khattar's government and police that had been blocking the borders for the past three days by forcibly stopping the farmers from proceeding.
The Chief Minister also flayed Khattar's persistent denial of use of force by Haryana Police despite the fact that all the visuals were a matter of public record captured by the media.
"He has the gall to deny something which is in plain sight. This shows the extent of his lies," said Amarinder Singh, noting out that injured farmers could be seen on every TV channel.