Chandigarh, Sep 17 (PTI) A group of Punjab Congress leaders on Thursday said their party was totally in unison over the farm bills, and did not need a whip to vote against the Centre's 'reprehensible bid to destroy' the agriculture. They were reacting to the statement of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema who had said that Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had led a delegation 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 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 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,' Congress MP Manish Tiwari said.
He was joined by Punjab Congress chief 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 the BJP-led NDA succeeded in passing through brute majority in the House by voice vote, they said in a statement.
The Congress members of Parliament 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 the Congress' stand on the issue, unlike SAD's Sukhbir Badal?' a Congress leader said.
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 the chief minister, 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 Badal over the farm ordinances 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, the Congress leaders added.
Notably, the SAD on Wednesday had issued a whip to its members in Rajya Sabha, asking them to oppose the Centre's farm-related legislations in the House. PTI CHS VSD KJ