HOURS after the Supreme Court stayed the Centre’s farm laws, the Punjab Congress camp treaded a cautious path while reacting to the decision. While most of them took on the four-member committee constituted by the SC, the leaders steered clear of saying anything on the stay.
A cautious Chief Minister Amarinder Singh tweeted his reaction as he said, “I have asked Advocate General Punjab to procure a copy of the order of the Supreme Court and examine it. Thereafter, the Council of Ministers shall meet on 14th Jan at 4 PM to consider its implications. #SupremeCourt.”
While none of the Cabinet ministers reacted publicly to the SC order, PPCC president Sunil Jakhar said that the committee formed by the apex court did not inspire anyone’s confidence, “The agriculture economist, Ashok Gulati, has been a strong votary of the laws. Just look at his articles he has been writing. He should have recused himself from the committee. Bhupinder Singh Mann was never accepted by the farm unions as a part of them,” Jakhar said.
Jakhar said that after seeing the way things moved, the farmers were in for a long-drawn battle. “They have already rejected the committee,” he added.
Former Cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu too watched his words as he tweeted: “The good of the People is the greatest Law.”
A few leaders on condition of anonymity said they wanted to wait and watch before reacting, “If we welcome the SC move, the farmers will think there is a quid pro quo with BJP. We are glad that the SC has stayed the farm laws. But the farmers have rejected these. We will take our own time to react,” a leader said.
Rajya Sabha MP Partap Bajwa hit out at the Centre but was cautious in his reaction. He said, “I am extremely disappointed with the hubris of the present Central Government that has led to the present situation with regard to the kisans of our country. The fact is that the Honourable Supreme Court should not be stepping in to hold laws in abeyance. As a Parliamentarian, I am shocked at the lengths the Government of India will go to ignore the Parliament of India and through that, the will of the people.”
Often when one assumes the mantle of leadership of a nation with a large majority, the people expect such power to be used responsibly. It is clear that this is no longer the case. By ignoring the demands of the farmers, the Government of India has tried its utmost to subvert the role of Parliament and further erode the constitutional decision-making process, he added.
He also said the unions have made it clear that they will not stop their protests and will not appear in front of the committee. As majority of these members have written publicly in favour of these farming laws.
The best solution to end the protests does not lie with the courts, but with the executive, here being the Central Government. The Executive and the Legislative must be the branches of Government working to end this impasse, he added.