Akalis with NDA; 'Party won’t issue whip'
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has said there is no need for the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) to issue a whip to its MPs to vote against the confidence motion which the UPA government is to seek in the Lok Sabha following the withdrawal of support by the Left parties over the nuclear deal.
“I have complete faith in my party MPs. Moreover there is no difference of opinion within the party. We have already decided to support the BJP-led NDA in Parliament on all issues. So, I do not think there is any need for issuing a whip to our MPs as we are all united on the issue,” said Badal during an interaction with the media at the Chandigarh Press Club on Tuesday.
Asked if the party would abstain from voting as some of the party MPs on the condition of anonymity had been quoted in a section of the media that there was lot of pressure from the community in India and abroad to support the Sikh Prime Minister, Badal said this would be nothing less than a cowardly act.
“To abstain from voting would be a criminal and cowardly act on the part of the Shiromani Akali Dal. The party, as a policy, is opposed to the Congress and would in no circumstance support it on any issue,” Badal said.
He also said that if the party were to vote for Manmohan Singh only on the ground that he is a Sikh, what would stop others from voting for Prime Ministers belonging to the Hindu, Muslim, Christian and other communities.
Of the Lok Sabha MPs from Punjab, SAD has 8, BJP 3 and Congress 2.
Badal said the UPA had not taken the Akalis into confidence on the India-US nuclear deal.
When reminded that some party MPs, including Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, were of the view that the SAD should not vote against the Sikh Premier, Badal said "There is no confusion. The party is not divided on the issue."