Don’t need whip like Akalis, united in fight against farm bills: Punjab Congress leaders – chandigarh

Published by Razak Mohammad on

Punjab Congress leaders on Thursday said that in contrast to the Akalis, their party was united over the farm bills and did not need a whip to vote against the Centre’s bid “to destroy the state’s agriculture”.

They were reacting to a statement of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema over chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh leading a delegation to submit a memorandum to governor VP Singh Badnore on the issue “instead of directing his MPs to express solidarity with the farming community by voting against the agri ordinances”.

“The Congress MPs have been fighting against these dangerous anti-Punjab ordinances from the outset and knew which way to vote, unlike those of the SAD, whose MPs were lost due to lack of clarity or direction from their leadership, which has been changing its stance on key issues to suit their personal interests,” said Manish Tiwari, also an MP.

He was joined by state Congress president Sunil Jakhar and cabinet ministers Manpreet Singh Badal, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and Bharat Bhushan Ashu.

The Congress MPs, not just from Punjab but around the country, had voted against the bills, which, unfortunately, the BJP-led NDA, of which the Akalis continue to be a part, succeeded in passing through majority in the House by voice vote, they said in a statement.

The Congress MPs already had clear directions from the party leadership, including Captain Amarinder Singh and the high command in Delhi, on the party’s stand on the ordinances, which the Akalis openly supported at the time of their introduction. “Why would they need new directions, given that there had been no change in Captain Amarinder’s or Congress stand on the issue, unlike SAD’s Sukhbir Badal?” they said in a release.

ASK WHY SAD IS STILL PART OF NDA

They pointed out that it was the SAD, along with the BJP, which had refused to reject the ordinances during the all-party meet convened by Captain Amarinder, and had subsequently stayed away from the Vidhan Sabha session to avoid voting for the resolution against the same.

“The sudden U-turn by SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal left Akali MPs at a loss to figure out what their party’s stand was, necessitating a whip to vote against the bills in Parliament,” they added.

Even now, they said, Sukhbir and his wife Harsimrat Kaur Badal, a minister in the Union Cabinet, continue to cling to their pretence of power in the NDA in the hope of promoting their petty personal interests. “Why has Harsimrat not quit the Cabinet? Why has Sukhbir not pulled the SAD out of the NDA even after the Narendra Modi government failed to address their purported concerns on the farm bills?” the Congress leaders said.

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