Union minister and Shiromani Akali Dal’s (SAD) Lok Sabha MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal will resign from the Narendra Modi government as a protest against the farm bills that are being brought in by the Modi government. Announcing this decision in the Lok Sabha, Akali Dal president Sukbhir Singh Badal said Harsimrat Kaur Badal will quit the Modi government in protest against the three farm bills tabled by the Centre in Parliament.
Sukhbir Badal said this during his speech on a discussion on two of the farm bills — the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill.
He said the proposed laws will “destroy” the 50 years of hard work done by successive Punjab governments to build the farm sector.
He recalled Punjab’s massive contribution in making India self-sufficient in food grain production as he vehemently opposed the bills.
“I announce that Harsimrat Kaur Badal will resign from the Narendra Modi government,” Sukhbir Singh Badal said in the Lok Sabha.
The Shiromani Akali Dal is the oldest ally of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and Harsimrat Kaur Badal was its sole representative in the Modi government. She was a Union minister even in the first term of the Modi government etween 2014 and 2019.
To protest against the three farm bills that are being introduced by the Modi government, the Akali Dal has issued whip to its MPs to vote against the bill.
However, since Harsimrat Kaur Badal is a Union minister, she can’t vote against her own government. Sources say this is one of the factors behind the decision to resign.
WHAT ARE THE FARM BILLS?
On Monday, the Modi government introduced ‘The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion And Facilitation) Bill’, ‘The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill’, and ‘The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill’.
These bills are aimed to replace the ordinances promulgated by the government in the past.
The government has argued that these measures will free farmers from the existing government-controlled markets and prices, and that they can enter into agreements with private parties for a better price of their produce.
However, farmers are apprehensive and fear that once these bills are passed by Parliament, they would pave the way for dismantling of the minimum support price (MSP) system and leave the farming community at the “mercy” of big corporates.
Over the last few weeks, farmers have organised protests in several parts of Punjab, Haryana, Telangana, Rajasthan,among others, against these bills.