Union Food Processing Minister and Akali Dal leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Thursday resigned from the Union Cabinet in protest against the three farm bills tabled by the Centre in Parliament.
She had been the only SAD representative in the Modi government. The Punjab party is the oldest BJP ally.
She later tweeted that she will always stand with farmers as their daughter and sister.
I have resigned from Union Cabinet in protest against anti-farmer ordinances and legislation. Proud to stand with farmers as their daughter & sister.
— Harsimrat Kaur Badal (@HarsimratBadal_) September 17, 2020
According to reports, the Akali leader, who represents Bhatinda in the Lok Sabha, walked out of the Lok Sabha when the House was taking up discussion on 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.
Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal, who is also her husband, had announced in Lok Sabha that she will quit the Modi government over the issue. "I announce that Harsimrat Kaur Badal will resign from the government," he said in Lok Sabha. However, the party will continue to support the BJP-led government at the Centre and will also remain a part of the NDA alliance.
In his speech during a discussion on two of the farm bills, Badal said the proposed laws will "destroy" the 50 years of hard work done by successive Punjab governments to build the farm sector.
ਸ਼੍ਰੋਮਣੀ ਅਕਾਲੀ ਦਲ ਕੇਂਦਰ ਸਰਕਾਰ ਦੇ ਤਿੰਨਾਂ ਖੇਤੀ ਆਰਡੀਨੈਂਸਾਂ ਦਾ ਵਿਰੋਧ ਕਰਦਾ ਹੈ।@Akali_Dal_ opposes all the three agriculture #ordinances of the Central Government.#ParliamentSession pic.twitter.com/ioiKGQk9jM
— Sukhbir Singh Badal (@officeofssbadal) September 17, 2020
He recalled Punjab's massive contribution in making India self-sufficient in food grain production as he vehemently opposed the bills.
The farm bills have evoked strong reactions from farmers of Haryana and Punjab — the bread baskets of India. Farmers from these states have taken to the streets to oppose the bills, which the BJP is pitching as big-ticket farm reforms.
The SAD was under tremendous political pressure after the Congress government in Punjab passed a resolution in the Vidhan Sabha against the ordinances, prompting the NDA ally to fiercely oppose the Bills after initially supporting it.
The Badals — party patriarch Parkash Singh Badal, former deputy CM Sukhbir Badal and Ms Badal — had not opposed the government's move in June when it had brought ordinances for the same. The SAD, sources said, had told the BJP that they will not be able to support the Bills as there is massive unrest among farmers in Punjab.