Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, January 24
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh dismissed rival Aam Aadmi Party’s claims that he had prior knowledge of the contents of the controversial agriculture laws saying that they were baseless allegations that showed the “extent of their desperation”.
Amarinder said in a statement he issued on Sunday evening that AAP, whose leader Raghav Chada held a press conference earlier in the day, was making yet another “desperate attempt” to woo back the state. He also accused AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal, the chief minister of Delhi, of hitting rock bottom to promote his agenda in a state that had “unceremoniously rejected” his party in 2017.
“If they think that by sharing a doctored video they can befool the people of Punjab then AAP leaders are even more ignorant about this state then I had believed them to be,” said the Chief Minister
He claimed that the Punjab government was not included in the original list of a high-powered committee of chief ministers set up for consultations on three controversial laws on June 15, 2019, and said his name was included in the final list dated August 7, 2019, only after he wrote to the central government.
“These dates are clearly mentioned on the documents shared by their spokesperson himself,” he pointed out. “Don’t you understand the difference between Punjab not originally being included in the Committee and being named a member after I personally wrote to the Centre on the issue? How does flaunting the final list, in which Punjab was included after my intervention prove me wrong?”
“Had AAP bothered to share the complete videos of my statements, the truth of what I have been saying would have been endorsed, which is obviously why they have carefully doctored my recorded statements.”
He claimed that because of a delay in including Punjab on the committee, the state missed the first meeting. He listed two mother meetings after that—one that discussed financial matters that his finance minister Manpreet Badal attended, and the last one in which only the state’s Agriculture Secretary was invited to participate.
“All this is a matter of record, which AAP clearly does not believe in checking out,” he said.
He also claimed that the agenda of these meetings did not list farm laws or any new legislation.
“This was again a matter of record,” he said, pointing to the Terms of Reference of the committee and adding that his cabinet colleague Badal had already released the minutes of the committee meeting.
“Your fake claims and allegations will not negate the truth of facts that are on record,” he told the AAP leaders.