Terming the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Tarun Chugh's remarks on his 'army background' as reprehensible, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday quipped, "what does the BJP or its leadership know of army honour or the grace of the national flag, in which the bodies of "our Punjabi brothers come wrapped from the borders every second day?"
"We in Punjab know the pain of seeing the bodies of our sons and brothers, wrapped in the national flag, come home every second day," he said, adding that the BJP clearly has no empathy or sensitivity towards the soldiers losing their lives to protect India's honour and integrity."
Neither Chugh nor his party could relate to the anguish of those very soldiers on seeing their farmer fathers and brothers being beaten up and teargassed while fighting for their rights, said the Chief Minister.
The Chief Minister slammed Chugh for deliberately spreading lies on an issue relating to the honour of the brave Indian soldiers fighting for the safety and security of the nation at the borders.
Lambasting the BJP national general secretary for his remarks on 'Republic Day grace', he said the BJP, which had systematically ripped the constitutional fabric apart over the past six years and most notably over the draconian farm laws, had lost all moral and ethical right to talk of the honour of Republic Day.
"What was wrong in my statement that maligning the farmers (for the Red Fort violence) could cause the morale of the armed forces, 20 per cent of whom are from Punjab, to go down? How does that amount to insulting the Republic Day grace and my own Army background?" asked an angry Amarinder Singh, hitting out at Chugh for misleading the people with baseless allegations.
"What happened to the grace of the Republic Day when the Central government, which the BJP leads, trampled over the federal and constitutional rights of the states to unilaterally bring in the farm ordinances without consulting anyone?
"Where is the grace in letting the poor farmers, who are feeding you along with the billion plus people of India every day, shiver in the cold on the roads, with many of them dying out there?," Amarinder Singh asked.
Reacting to Chugh's accusations that he had backed those who had insulted the Tricolour at the Red Fort, Amarinder Singh pointed out that far from supporting anyone involved in the Red Fort violence in any way, "I was among the first to outright condemn the violence and the dishonour to the symbol of independent India."
Saying, however, that he did not believe it was the farmers who created trouble, the Chief Minister pointed out that it was miscreants, including the BJP's own supporters, who were seen creating trouble at the historic Red Fort in the national capital on Republic Day.
He reiterated his demand for a thorough probe into the incident to expose the conspiracy and unveil the role, if any, of any political party or any third country.
Terming Chugh's unfounded allegations as a clear attempt to cover up his own party's role in the incident and also in the subsequent developments, including Friday's attack on farmers protesting peacefully at the Singhu border, the Chief Minister said the BJP, in its desperation to divert public attention from the genuine plight and struggle of the farmers, was resorting to all kinds of theatrics and lies.
The Chief Minister also came down heavily on the BJP leader over his remarks on the law and order situation in the state. For months, the farmers agitated peacefully in Punjab, where some of them are even now sitting in protest without any trouble, he pointed out, adding that the BJP wanted to see trouble in the state with an eye on next year's Assembly elections.
"Why else would they try to underplay the growing Pakistan and China threats, and the increasing number of incidents of weapons being smuggled into Punjab through drones," he asked, warning the ruling party against compromising the nation's safety and security for its own petty political gains.