The chief ministers of Punjab and Haryana are engaged in a war of words over which state is doing better in agriculture. The exchanges of Amarinder Singh and Manohar Lal Khattar follow months of protest against three central agricultural laws and a number of events in recent days.
Haryana’s Khattar today posted a series of tweets outlining his state’s welfare schemes for farmers and asked the Punjab Chief Minister to decide for himself who was ‘pro-farmer’.
For example, he posted: “Haryana buys 10 crops from MSP – paddy, wheat, mustard, bajra, gram, moong, maize, groundnut, sunflower, cotton and makes the MSP payment directly to the farmer’s account. How many crops does Punjab buy from the farmer at MSP?”
Similarly, he said, “Haryana pays each farmer Rs 1,000 per hectare for stubble management and provides clutches for the sale of paddy straw. What incentive does Punjab give the farmer?”
2.Haryana offers an incentive of Rs 7000/- per hectare to any farmer who wants to move away from paddy farming. What is the incentive that Punjab gives to the farmer in the same way?
— Manohar Lal (@mlkhattar) August 30, 2021
The tweet storm from the chief minister of Haryana appeared to be a response to Singh’s joke to him, urging his party, the BJP, to repeal the three controversial agricultural laws that thousands of farmers have protested, especially along Delhi’s borders, since last November.
“You are repealing the agricultural laws and not just the farmers, but even I will share laddoos with you,” Mr Singh said today.
He also reprimanded Khattar for allegedly defending the attack on protesting farmers. Mr Singh referred to a recent video that went viral on social media showing a senior Haryana official giving police explicit instructions to beat farmers.
All of this was in response to another comment from Mr Khattar – this one about farmer leaders who saw the Punjab Chief Minister feeding sweets after he announced a higher recommended price for sugar cane by the state on Aug. 24.
He accused the Punjab government of fueling farmers’ agitation against the BJP-run center and claimed that farmers’ leaders would not offer sweets to Mr Singh.
“You can count people who are on the borders of Delhi. They are mostly from Punjab, not from Haryana. The farmers of Haryana are happy,” Khattar said at a news conference earlier today.