Arvind Kejriwal, Amarinder Singh in Twitter Spat Over Punjab Farm Bills

The AAP supremo questioned the validity of the Bills passed by the Punjab assembly, while the Congress leader accused opposition parties in Punjab of "double standards".

New Delhi/Chandigarh: Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and his Punjab counterpart Amarinder Singh locked horns on Twitter on Wednesday over the farm laws issue, with the AAP supremo questioning the legality of the Bills passed by the Punjab assembly and Singh accusing the opposition party of “double standards”.

Singh told reporters that while the Shiromani Akali Dal and Aam Aadmi Party supported the passage of the state’s Bills which intend to negate the central laws passed by parliament inside the assembly on Tuesday, they have criticised them publicly.

The Congress leader also asked the Delhi chief minister to follow Punjab’s example and pass similar Bills “to save the farmers”.

Hitting back, Kejriwal alleged that CM Amarinder Singh has “cheated and fooled the people” with his “drama”, prompting Singh to retort that the AAP leader’s remarks smack of ignorance and he was not surprised as Delhi is “not really a state”.

Are you with the farmers or against them, Singh asked the Delhi chief minister.

“I am amazed that they (SAD and AAP) spoke in favour of the Bills in the assembly, and even went to meet the governor along with me, but said different things outside.”

“This shows their brazen double standard,” Singh earlier told reporters in Chandigarh, after the three-day special session of the state assembly was adjourned sine die.

Tagging a tweet from the Punjab Chief Minister’s Office that referred to Singh’s comments, Kejriwal replied tersely; “Raja Sahib, you amended the laws of the Centre. Can the state change the laws of the Centre? No. You did a drama.

You fooled people. The laws which you passed yesterday by them will the farmers get MSP? No. Farmers want MSP, not your fake and false laws.”

To this, Singh asked the Delhi CM to study the Constitution.

Also read: Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan to Follow Punjab in Opposing Central Farm Laws

“Your reaction smacks of total ignorance @ArvindKejriwal though I can’t blame you as Delhi is not really a state. But I expected you to do homework before rushing to react to my remarks that were made in the interest of farmers, who I thought you might have some concern for,” Singh tweeted.

“And frankly, @ArvindKejriwal, I thought you knew your Constitution, which clearly says that u/Article 254 (II) states can seek an amendment to central laws for local & contextual needs, as has been done in many cases, especially in CPC & CrPC laws. Maybe you could check it now!” he said in another tweet.

“So instead of questioning my government’s bills why don’t you get out of your IT mindset & ask your @AAPPunjab unit to back us in our fight for farmers, unless their support to our Bills was just a facade? The ball is in your court – are you with farmers or against them,” Singh said in another tweet.

The war of words continued, as Kejriwal alleged that Singh was part of the committee that got the Centre’s Bills passed and he was now misleading farmers.

“Raja sahib, you yourself have admitted that the state cannot change the Centre’s laws. The Centre is not going to accept your amendments. So why did you distribute sweets yesterday? You cheated farmers.”

“First you cheated the farmers by supporting the Centre’s bills in the committee, and now this is the second time you are cheating them,” Kejriwal tweeted in Hindi.

“Raja Sahib, do not cheat the farmers in Punjab. If you really want them to benefit, then pass a law on MSP that the crops which the Centre will not buy on MSP will be bought by the Punjab government on MSP,” the AAP leader said in another tweet in Hindi.

The state Bills provide for imprisonment of not less than three years for the sale or purchase of wheat or paddy below the minimum support price (MSP), exemption of farmers from the attachment of land up to 2.5 acres and prevention of hoarding and black-marketing of agricultural produce.

The state Bills, however, need the assent of the governor before they become laws. The governor could withhold assent and refer them to the president.

The Punjab assembly also adopted a resolution rejecting the Centre’s new farm laws.

The opposition and farmer unions claim that the new laws will lead to the dismantling of the MSP system, a suggestion repeatedly denied by the BJP-led government at the Centre.