Akali Dal quits BJP-led NDA over new farm bills

Akali Dal Chief Sukhbir Singh Badal (file image)

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Saturday quit the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) over the new farm bills recently passed in the Parliament.

“Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has decided to pull out of BJP-led NDA alliance because of the centre’s stubborn refusal to give statutory legislative guarantees to protect assured marketing of farmers crops on MSP & its continued insensitivity to Punjabi & Sikh issues,” the SAD President Sukhbir Singh Badal announced.

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The decision was taken at the core committee meeting of SAD. The meeting unanimously decided to pull out of the BJP-led NDA alliance.

Apart from Centre’s stance on the agriculture bills, the party also talked of “its continued insensitivity to Punjabi and Sikh issues like not including Punjabi language in the list of official languages in Jammu and Kashmir”.

The meeting was presided over by the SAD President Sukhbir Singh Badal. The decision came at the end of a meeting that lasted over three hours.

Addressing the media later, Badal said that the party will continue to stand by its core principles of “peace, communal harmony and guarding the interest of Punjab, Punjabis in general and Sikhs and farmers in particular”.

He said the decision has been taken in consultation with the people of Punjab, especially party workers and farmers.

Badal said that the bills on agricultural marketing brought by the BJP-led government were “lethal and disastrous” for the already beleaguered farmers.

He said the SAD was the oldest ally of the BJP but the government “did not listen to it on honouring the sentiments of farmers”.

The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 were passed by Parliament on Sunday. A third bill relating to amendment in the Essential Commodities Act has also been passed by Parliament.

The Centre has said that the bills provide farmers the freedom to farmers to sell their produce everywhere.

SAD leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal had quit from the union cabinet as Food Processing Minister over the agriculture bills.

(With inputs from ANI)

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