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New Delhi: A day after his comments on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s retort on the farmers’ protests made news, Meghalaya Governor Satya Pal Malik appeared keen to strike a milder tone.
Malik had said that Modi had been “very arrogant” when he had spoken to him on farmers’ deaths, asking if the deaths had been “for him”.
“He was very arrogant. When I told him that 500 of our own farmers had died, and even when a dog dies you send a condolence letter, he asked, ‘Did they die for me?’” Malik said, as earlier reported by The Wire. “I told him yes, since you are the king. Anyway, I ended up having a fight with him. He told me to meet Amit Shah, and so I did.”
A video clip on Twitter of Malik at a function at Charkhi Dadri in Haryana, shows him as having then said, “He [Amit Shah] said ‘Satya Pal, he has been misguided by some people. You don’t worry about it, you keep meeting. Things will be understood one day.”
"मैं जब किसानों के मामले में प्रधानमंत्री जी से मिलने गया तो मेरी पांच मिनट में लड़ाई हो गई उनसे। वो बहुत घमंड में थे। जब मैंने उनसे कहा कि हमारे 500 लोग मर गए तो उसने कहा कि मेरे लिए मरे हैं?"
~सत्यपाल मलिक, राज्यपाल, मेघालय pic.twitter.com/JpNaivdlXd
— Avadhesh Akodia (@avadheshjpr) January 3, 2022
Speaking to Indian Express, Malik said that his remarks on Shah saying that Modi has been misguided by some people had been “misconstrued” and “Shah did not make any comment on the Prime Minister” but had “asked me to keep meeting people and try to convince them”.
“Actually, Amit Shah had asked me why do I keep making statements? But when I told him the government had to find a middle path for the farmers and cannot let them die, he was very understanding. He understood the issue too,” he told Express.
Malik also said that he had publicly “appreciated and praised” Modi for repealing the farm laws against which farmers had been protesting.
“When he was the Chief Minister (of Gujarat), he was pro-farmer and wanted MSP to be given statutory status. But after becoming the Prime Minister, he was misguided. Still, when he realised that the farmers did not support the laws at any cost, he had the heart to withdraw it and apologise. That shows his large-heartedness. He is on the right track now,” Malik said.
Malik’s comments on Modi and Shah had invited reactions from opposition politicians.
Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge asked on Monday whether Malik’s remarks were true.
“Meghalaya’s Governor Sri. Satya Pal Malik is on record saying PM was ‘arrogant’ on the issue of Farmers and Home Minister Amit Shah called the PM as ‘mad’. Constitutional authorities speaking about each other with such contempt!” Kharge wrote on Twitter.
“Narendra Modi ji is this true?” the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha asked.
National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said Malik has “bitten the hand that fed him”.
“This man was their hatchet man in J&K now he bites that hand that fed him. The people of J&K can certify the untrustworthiness of Mr Malik,” Abdullah said in a tweet. Malik had been Jammu and Kashmir governor when the Union government scrapped the special status of the state and read down Article 370.
In recent months, Malik has spoken out against the BJP-led Union government on the farmers’ protests and the Central Vista project.