Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Wednesday slammed the BJP-led Centre for "targeting" Punjab farmers for farm fires, alleging that the saffron party wanted to avenge the state growers for breaking its "arrogance" with a year-long stir against the now-repealed agri laws.
Mann's statement came a day after the BJP targeted the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Punjab over the rising number of stubble burning cases and asked it to wake up from its "deep slumber".
Further hitting out at the BJP for "defaming" the state farmers for pollution, Mann asked the Centre why it does not speak about surrounding areas like Haryana, wondering whether "Switzerland is settled" there.
Calling the BJP as "anti-farmers", Mann asked, "do not abuse us and do not threaten us" and told it to provide a solution for stubble management.
In a video message, Mann said, "The central government is abusing Delhi and Punjab governments every day in the media, holding Punjab farmers guilty asking why they (farmers) burn stubble? Why did pollution rise in Delhi?" The chief minister also accused the Centre of not agreeing to its proposal of providing cash incentive to farmers for stubble management.
"But the Centre did not accept our scheme," he said.
The AAP government had proposed that the Centre give Rs 1,500 per acre and Delhi and Punjab governments would give Rs 500 each to farmers for stubble management.
He further said that many factories wanted to set up projects of bio-energy, etc because of availability of stubble in Punjab and alleged that the permission for the same was not granted by the Centre.
Asserting that farmers do not want to set crop residue on fire but they do it out of compulsion, Mann said before going anywhere else, smoke first passes through a farmer's village and lungs of his family.
He accused the Centre of playing politics over the issue but not giving any solution for stubble burning.
"When we offer solutions (for stubble management), they (Centre) do not agree to it," said Mann.
"I do not understand one thing, Why only Delhi and Punjab? What about Haryana," he asked.
Mann also showed data relating to the air quality index of several areas of Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Bihar.
He said Faridabad in Haryana is at number one in terms of poor air quality.
"It appears that Punjab and Delhi are only spreading pollution while they see Switzerland in surrounding areas. Is there no pollution by surrounding places," asked Mann while taking a swipe at the Centre for blaming only Punjab for pollution.
"Pradhan Mantri ji, it is a north India problem. You call Bihar, Rajasthan, Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and UP. It is a north India problem. And you are not ready to spend a single penny," he said.
He took on the Centre for not bothering to inquire about drop in paddy yield because of the dwarf disease and not even spoke about compensation for that.
Showing some letters written by the Centre to Punjab, Mann said the Government of India was just asking the state how many more FIRs have been registered against erring farmers than last year.
"Do you consider farmers of Punjab criminal," he asked while stating that the issue will not be resolved this way.
"While sitting in your AC rooms, you (Centre) start abusing farmers of Punjab," he said.
"Perhaps there is a hatred in Centre's mind towards farmers of Punjab because of the stir which broke its arrogance," he claimed, adding that he strongly condemns the Centre and the BJP for allegedly defaming the state farmers.
Calling himself the son of a farmer, Mann said he had met leaders of farmer bodies which had also said that they do not want to burn straw. The farmers want to come out of the paddy crop, said Mann, asking the Centre to give MSP on alternative crops.
Facing the Opposition ire over the crop residue management machines, Mann said 1.20 lakh such machines have been distributed to farmers and launched a massive awareness programme on stubble burning issue.
He also pointed out that many village panchayats had even passed resolutions against burning of crop residue.
"The BJP wants to avenge the farmers of Punjab for breaking the arrogance of the central government by holding a very big agitation. It will not be tolerated," he said.
"The BJP has been anti-farmer from day one. It earlier failed to make laws," he said.
He asked the Centre to offer a solution for stubble burning.
"Do not abuse us. Do not threaten us. Do not ask us how many FIRs have been registered against farmers. Give us a solution. The Centre has a solution and it has a lot of funds," said Mann.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)