Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Sunday hit back at his Punjab counterpart Captain Amarinder Singh over “lack of coordination” on farmers protest.

“If any dangerous situation arises due to coronavirus, the Punjab government will be responsible for it. I tried to speak to Amarinder Singh on this matter but he denied receiving any call. Later when I showed the proof, he was left speechless,” Khattar said. “A Chief Minister of one state doesn’t use cuss words against a CM of another state. I am not going to comment on this, people are already expressing their views on social media and elsewhere. Provacating protest is a pre-planned strategy of Congress party and Punjab government,” the Haryana CM said.

Speaking to news agency ANI, Khattar said, “Due to coronavirus, we decided not to allow any huge gatherings. We gave permission of up to 100 people for indoor programs and 200 for outdoor events. But I am shocked to see that the people of Punjab didn’t adhere to the rules and the Punjab Government also encouraged the move of protest at this time. If any serious conscience occurs in the future, the Punjab government will solely be responsible for it.”

We blocked the ways of the farmers because nobody would allow such a huge gathering in Delhi. And when protestors tried to move forward, we decided not to use force. I don’t consider tear gas and water cannon as a way of force. It is a means of restricting people,” Khattar told ANI.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Chief Minister on Sunday flayed his Haryana counterpart Khattar for his allegations that the former did not attend to the latter’s calls to discuss the farm issues. “If at all someone from his office called my residence, why were the calls made to an attendant? Why were official channels not used to get in touch with me?” a statement from the Punjab government quoted the Chief Minister.

“Top officials of the Punjab government, at Principal Secretary and DGP levels among others, have been in touch with each other on the farmers’ issue for the past several days, yet none of these officials conveyed Khattar’s desire to talk to me at any point in time. His attempt to seize the high moral ground on the farmers’ Dilli Chalo march is pathetic,” he added.

This comes in response to the Haryana CM’s allegations where he said that he had made a “continuous effort to get in touch with Amarinder Singh” but could not get hold of him.

The Punjab CM further hit out at Khattar for denying that farmers from his state did not participate in the ‘Dilli Chalo’ protest march, saying that rather than standing by them, Khattar was spreading lies and could not be trusted. “A man who can disown his own farmers, and even go so far as to call them Khalistanis, instead of standing by them in this crisis clearly has no moral scruples about spreading lies. Khattar clearly cannot be trusted,” a statement from the Punjab government quoted Singh.

This comes after Khattar on Saturday denied the participation of Haryana farmers in the protest march against the Centre’s farm laws, adding the ongoing demonstrations were being driven by certain political parties and unions.Singh further alleged that Khattar was out to suppress the farmers and had no serious intent of discussing their protests with him and condemned him for politicising the genuine demands of the farmers.

He also hit out at Khattar for his comment that Amarinder would be responsible if Covid spreads due to the protests, saying, “If he (Khattar) is so concerned about farmers spreading Covid in Haryana, he should have allowed them to move quickly through to Delhi rather than stopping them.”

After days of a standoff with police and after facing teargas shells, water cannons and barricading on various points on the Delhi-Haryana border by police, the farmers’ “Dilli Chalo” march was allowed to enter Delhi on Friday and proceed to the ground in Burari situated in its north-west.

A few of them began arriving at the Nirankari Samagam Ground on the outskirts of the national capital later on Saturday after being granted permission from the Delhi Police, while others sat in protest at the Singhu border.

With ANI inputs