Modi asked 'Did farmers die for me?': Meghalaya Governor
Meghalaya Governor Satya Pal Malik on Sunday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was "arrogant" when the two had met to discuss the farmers' protests. "When I told him that 500 of our farmers had died, (Modi) asked, 'Did they die for me?'" Malik said. "I replied, 'Yes, since you're the king.'" Malik said he was then directed to meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
Why does this story matter?
Modi's alleged remarks take precedence as they likely highlight his administration's attitude toward the agitation and its cause. The central government's now-repealed agricultural laws had sparked the intense farmer protests that lasted over a year. Notably, Malik has been a staunch critic of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), particularly on the farmers' issue, and had even threatened to resign.
'Modi lost his mind,' Shah allegedly told Malik
"When I met Amit Shah, he told me 'Satya, he (Modi) has lost his mind. You be carefree and keep meeting us,'" said Malik. The Modi government is yet to respond to the remarks.
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Meghalaya’s Governor Sri. Satya Pal Malik is on record saying PM was 'arrogant' on the issue of Farmers HM Amit Shah called the PM as ‘mad’— Mallikarjun Kharge (@kharge) January 3, 2022
Constitutional authorities speaking about each other with such contempt!@narendramodi ji is this true?pic.twitter.com/M0EtHn2eQp
Incident highlights Modi's vanity, cruelty: Congress
The Congress party tweeted saying this highlights Modi's virtues—"vanity, cruelty, and insensitivity." AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said it is understood from the episode that Modi does not want to hear the truth and simply wants praises. However, former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said "the people of J&K can certify the untrustworthiness of Mr. Malik." Malik formerly served as the governor of J&K.
'Farmers' stir may start again if there's injustice'
Separately, Malik said the government must act honestly to drop cases filed against farmers during the protests. "If there is injustice or if there are any excesses with farmers, then the stir will start again," he said on the sidelines of the event in Charkhi Dadri, Haryana. Farmers should take advantage of the situation now that the farm rules have been overturned, he said.
Why were the farmers protesting?
Farmers had been resisting the controversial bills since they were announced in mid-2020. Critics had said the laws would have corporatized farming and eliminated minimum support prices (MSPs), leaving farmers reliant on private players. In November 2020, the protesters rallied to Delhi as part of their 'Dilli Chalo' campaign only to be stopped at the city's borders, where they camped for roughly a year.