Cong targets PM after Meghalaya governor’s ‘arrogant’ remark about him, demands apology

PTI, Jan 3, 2022, 8:45 PM IST

The Congress on Monday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to come clean on Meghalaya Governor Satya Pal Malik’s allegation that he was ”arrogant” on the farmers’ issue and demanded an unconditionally apology if it was true.

Congress general secretary Randeep Surjewala said the prime minister should come forward and tell the truth to the nation, and sack the governor, if he is not telling the truth. The entire nation is shocked with the text of conversation between BJP-appointed Governor Malik and the prime minister on the farmers’ agitation.

The Congress leader said the ”anti-farmer” and ”insensitive” face of prime minister Modi, his government and the BJP stands exposed.

”If Governor Malik is lying, he should be sacked and an FIR should be registered against him. But if he is not lying, Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah must come forward and apologise to India’s toiling farmers and farm labourers. Otherwise, they will never pardon them,” the Congress chief spokesperson told reporters.

”We demand that prime minister and home minister apologise unconditionally to farmers and tell them by when will families of farmers who died (during the farm laws protest) will be compensated,” he said.

Targeting Modi, he said, ”Mr. Prime Minister, is this the language of the person holding the highest public office and elected by farmers.” Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge asked Modi whether Malik’s remarks were true.

Kharge also shared a video clip on Twitter of Malik from a function at Haryana’s Charkhi Dadri, where he is saying that the prime minister was ”arrogant” when he went to meet him on the issue of farmers and had a fight with him within five minutes.

Malik claimed in the video that Modi was not ready to accept that farmers who were protesting against three agriculture laws of the Centre last year died due to him and instead, asked him to meet Shah.

”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 tweeted.

”Narendra Modi ji is this true?” the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha asked.

Malik is also heard saying in the video clip that when he met Shah, the latter told him that ”people have clouded his (Modi’s) vision” and he should keep meeting the prime minister.

The Congress also shared Malik’s comments on its Twitter handle and alleged that it was due to Modi’s arrogance that so many farmers had died.

”Due to the arrogance of PM Modi, farmers agitated on the streets for an entire year. As the elections approached, PM Modi realised his mistake and withdrew the agri laws, but farmers of the country will never forget nor forgive the pain and sting caused by this mistake,” the Congress said on its official Twitter handle.

”It was PM Modi’s arrogance about the agri laws that forced the farmers to agitate on the streets for more than a year and over 700 farmers died. The countrymen have paid a big price for PM Modi’s arrogance,” it alleged.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra targeted Modi alleging that he has an ”anti-farmer” mindset and ”false apologies” or withdrawal of the laws would not matter.

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah tweeted, ”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.” Reacting to Malik’s allegation, Rajasthan Chief Minister and Congress leader Ashok Gehlot said, “I don’t think Shah can use such language for the prime minister.” ”Only two people are ruling the country today. There are just two faces – Modi and Shah. If he has spoken such words, then it is a kind of understanding,” Gehlot told reporters in Jaipur.

Later NDTV quoted Malik as having told the channel that Shah meant no disrespect to Prime Minister Modi ”The prime minister was not ready to listen… He tried to dismiss my concerns… and said ‘meet Amit Shah’. Amit Shah respects Modi ji a lot. He told me that people misguide the prime minister. ‘One day PM will understand this (the farmers’ contention with the three laws)’, I was told. I want to clarify that Mr Shah did not say anything about the prime minister with ill intent. He only told me that my concerns will be understood,” Malik told the channel.

Surjewala said never in the history of the country has a prime minister dared to say like this about India’s toiling farmers that ”what if 500 farmers have died”.

”To dishonour their memory by none less than the prime minister himself is actually most regrettable and condemnable,” he said.

”We demand that today please come forward and announce compensation to the next of kin of 700 farmers. The PM should also announce a government job for the next of kin of those farmers who died during the agitation,” he said.

Modi should also announce withdrawal of every single case registered against farmers falsely whether it be in Uttar Pradesh or Haryana, and should tell by when will these ”false” cases be withdrawn, Surjewala said.

He said Modi should announce the constitution of a committee to decide on the compulsory MSP architecture. ”It should not only be constituted in the next 24 hours but should also deliver its report within 30 days so that farmers know what is the way forward on the grant of MSP for their produce. This is the least that is expected of the prime minister.” ”You can no longer remain quiet, Mr Prime Minister. You can no longer remain mum, otherwise it will be proven that the prime minister only works for a handful of crony capitalists and is actually arrogant, insensitive and intemperate vis-a-vis the demands of the toiling farmers and farm labourers,” Surjewala said.

The Congress leader said those farmers did not die for the BJP or Modi but for protecting the food security of the country and justice could be done to 62 crore farmers and farm labourers.

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