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‘Farmers & SAD Synonymous’: Union Min Harsimrat Badal Quits Govt

Late on Thursday, the Lok Sabha passed 2 contentious farm bills amid protests by political parties and farm leaders.

Updated
Politics
4 min read
Union Minister for Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal.
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A day after she resigned from the government, saying that “farmers and SAD are synonymous”, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader and former Union Cabinet Minister for Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Friday, 18 September, said that she had told the government that it should bring in the bills after consultation with stakeholders.

“What is politics in this? Farmers are agitating not only in Punjab but also in Haryana, Rajasthan, UP and Maharashtra. There is opposition in South India,” Badal said on Friday, speaking to ANI.

The SAD leader resigned from the government on Thursday, 17 September, to protest what she called “anti-farmer ordinances and legislation”, tweeting “Proud to stand with farmers as their daughter & sister.”

‘Farmers & SAD Synonymous’: Union Min Harsimrat Badal Quits Govt

President Accepts Harsimrat’s Resignation

President of India Ram Nath Kovind, as advised by the Prime Minister, has accepted Harsimrat Kaur Badal’s resignation with immediate effect, ANI reported, quoting the Rashtrapati Bhavan. The President has also directed that Narendra Singh Tomar be assigned the charge of the Ministry of Food Processing Industries, in addition to his existing portfolios.

"Few people have opposed it for sheer political reasons. Under the leadership of PM Modi, poor and farmers are being taken care of. Congress too have said such things in its manifestos. The Modi government took a decision. MSP will stay, I want to assure all of you," Tomar said, speaking to ANI.

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Late on Thursday, the Lok Sabha passed the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, with the Opposition parties staging a walkout.

Badal’s Letter to PM Modi

In a letter addressed to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, shared by news agency ANI, Badal said:

“In view of the decision of the Government of India to go ahead with the Bill…without addressing and removing the apprehensions of the farmers and the decision of my party, Shiromani Akali Dal, not to be part of anything that goes against the interests of the farmers, I find it impossible to continue to perform my duties as a minister in the Union Council of Ministers.”   

Badal went on to say that her decision symbolises her party’s vision, its “glorious legacy” and it’s the commitment to never compromise on the legacy.

She also stated that “before, during and after the promulgation of the three ordinances”, she had been trying her best to persuade the Cabinet to consult the farmers, and remove their apprehensions.

“Farmers and SAD are synonymous as the party is inspired by the egalitarian vision of the founder of the Sikh faith, Shri Guru Nanak Dev ji, who himself spent nearly 20 years of his life working in his fields at Kartarpur Sahib as a humble farmer. This is enough to show what farmers mean to SAD.”   
Harsimrat Kaur Badal to PM Modi

‘Too Little Too Late’: Amarinder Singh

Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Amarinder Singh, however, referred to Badal’s decision to quit the Cabinet as “too little too late”. He also alleged that her decision was merely an attempt to save Akali Dal’s “dwindling political fortunes.”

‘Farmers & SAD Synonymous’: Union Min Harsimrat Badal Quits Govt

Meanwhile, Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said in the Lok Sabha, "I appreciate the sentiment and emotions of Madam Harsimrat Kaur, who has displayed her guts by opposing this draconian legislation. The three ordinances are nothing but a toxic triangle."

Reacting to the resignation, Sunil Jakhar, Punjab Congress chief said that it was a compulsion and was not done out of any love for farmers. “For four months they tried to fool farmers but ended up making laughing stock of themselves. I think people have seen through it,” he said, reported ANI.

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‘Future Course of Action to Be Decided’: SAD Chief

SAD President Sukhbir Singh Badal said on Thursday, 17 September, that the party is ready to make any sacrifice for farmers and their welfare.

“SAD’s future course of action – whether to stay in the ruling NDA or not – will be decided in a party meeting later,” he was quoted by PTI.

SAD had earlier issued a whip to its MPs, asking them to vote against the three farm sector bills.

On Tuesday, Sukhbir Singh Badal, in a Lok Sabha speech, had said that the Akali Dal was not consulted before the farm ordinances were framed. “Ever since the ordinances were issued, we have been asking the government not to press with it and not to bring this Bill. But our voice was not heard,” he had said.

Farmers across Punjab have been holding protests, demonstrations and roadblocks in recent weeks over the issue.

(With inputs from ANI)

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