Chandigarh, Sep 17 (IANS) Slamming the SAD for its concerted attempts to divert the public attention from its failure to protect the rights and interests of the farmers, Punjab Congress leaders on Thursday said the party was totally in unison over the farm Bills in sharp contrast to the Akalis.
They were reacting to the statement of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema over the fact that the Chief Minister had led a delegation on Wednesday to submit a memorandum to the Governor on the issue ‘instead of directing his MPs to express solidarity with the farming community by voting against the agriculture 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 totally lost due to the total lack of clarity or direction from their leadership, which has been changing its stance on key issues to suit their personal interests,” said Manish Tewari, himself an MP.
He was joined by PPCC President, Sunil Jakhar, and Cabinet Ministers, Manpreet Badal, Sukhjinder 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 shamelessly to be a part, succeeded in passing through brute majority in the House by a voice vote, they said in a statement.
The Congress MPs already had clear directions from the party leadership, including Amarinder Singh as well as the high command in Delhi, on the party’s stand on the ordinances, which the Akalis openly and clearly supported at the time of their introduction, they said.
“Why would they need new directions, given that there had been no change in Amarinder’s or Congress stand on the issue, unlike SAD’s Sukhbir Badal?” they quipped.
They pointed out that it was SAD, along with the BJP, which had refused to reject the ordinances during the all-party meet convened by Amarinder Singh, and had subsequently stayed away from the Vidhan Sabha session to avoid voting for the resolution against them.
The sudden U-turn by SAD President Sukhbir Badal, thereafter, naturally left the 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.
“The Congress, with its principled stand on the issue all through, did not need to issue any such whip,” said the Congress leaders, adding that ‘these theatrics by the SAD would not help undo the damage they had already done to the farmers of Punjab and, in fact, the entire country’.
“The Congress will continue to fight against these Legislations within and outside Parliament and will not get sidetracked by the SAD drama,” the ministers asserted.