BJP’s oldest ally Shiromani Akali Dal quits NDA over Farm Bills

Last Updated: Sunday, 27 September 2020 (11:13 IST)
Chandigarh: Anguished over the passing of in Parliament, the Shiromani on Saturday pulled out itself from the Bharatiya Janata Party led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

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The Akali Dal, one of BJP’s oldest ally, had been protesting over the three contentious Farm Bills, which were passed in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, amid ruckus.
chief Sukhbir Singh Badal said the decision to quit NDA was taken “because of the Centre’s stubborn refusal to give statutory legislative guarantees to protect the assured marketing of farmers’ crops on MSP and it’s continued insensitivity to Punjabi and Sikh issues, like excluding Punjabi as official language in Jammu and Kashmir”.
“The government’s decision on Farm Bills is deeply injurious to the interests not only of the farmers, but also of Khet mazdoor, traders, arhtiyas and the Dalits, who depend on the well-being of agriculture,” he added.
Later, after announcing the decision, Mr Badal said that SAD will continue to stand by its core principles of peace and communal harmony and of guarding the interests of Punjab, Punjabi in general and Sikhs and farmers in particular.
He said the decision has been taken after deep deliberations with the people of Punjab, especially party workers and farmers, farm labour, traders, arhtiyas and other poor sections of the society.
Mr Badal said the Bills on agricultural marketing, brought by the government, are lethal and disastrous for the already beleaguered farmers.
“These are Black Laws and the SAD has resigned in protest against these Bills. It could not be a party to a government or alliance, which stands opposed to the farmers, farm labourers, arhtiyas and other poorer and toiling sections of the society,” added the former Chief Minister of Punjab.
He said even after quitting the Union Government, the SAD had hoped that the Centre would not press on with these “murderous assaults on the poor peasantry and other poor sections, who depend on agriculture and trade. But, it seems the BJP is totally out of touch with ground realities”.
He said SAD was the oldest ally of BJP, but the government and the main driving principle behind the alliance was the SAD’s commitment to peace and communal harmony in Punjab and the restoration of pride and dignity of Punjabis in general and Sikhs in particular, in the country.
“With successive decisions, the present government has shown its callous insensitivity to minority sentiments and been indifferent to the imperatives of peace and communal harmony in the country, especially in Punjab,” added Mr Badal.
He said despite their best efforts, the BJP government did not listen to it on honouring the sentiments of farmers.
“Farmers are the backbone of the national economy and it is in national interest that the government should stand by them. But, the policies of the present government are running against vital national interests.
“No alliance or ministry is more important than the ‘annadaata’. We are with the kisan and khet mazdoor from Day 1. This is why, we opposed the three Farm Bills and withdrew from the NDA government. We will now agitate to get the Bills revoked and strive to make MSP a statutory right of farmers,” the SAD president had said in a tweet on Friday.
Earlier on September 17, Union Minister of Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal, expressing her resentment, resigned from the Union Cabinet. She said she was “proud to stand with farmers as their daughter & sister”.
Parliament, in it’s recently-concluded Monsoon Session, had passed three Bills, which were not taken in good taste by the farmers across the country, especially from Punjab and Haryana.
A day earlier on Friday, thousands of farmers, backed by the Opposition parties and trade unions, protested in Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh against the new Farm Bills.
They blocked roads and railway tracks, despite the government’s assurances that the three Farm Reform Bills were meant to help the small and marginal farmers. (UNI)