Union minister Harsimrat Kaur resigns, BJP runs into trouble with old ally
A senior BJP functionary on condition of anonymity said the “outstanding issues will be taken up” and sought to downplay the differences that have cropped up between the allies.Updated: Sep 17, 2020, 23:02 IST
The Bharatiya Janata party and the Shiromani Akali Dal alliance has run into rough weather over the latter’s disapproval of the three farm bills being pushed by the government in the ongoing monsoon session of Parliament.
On Thursday, after SAD’s Harsimrat Kaur, who is a minister for food processing, announced her resignation from the Modi cabinet, the BJP remained tight lipped. However, a party leader said there is no threat to the alliance.
The SAD, which clarified that it continues to be part of the NDA government, is opposed to the farm bill moved by the government, alleging that it is anti-farmer.
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SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal on Thursday said that 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 do not have the party’s sanction. The third bill, the Essential Commodities (amendment) Bill 2020 has already been passed in Lok Sabha, though the SAD opposed that as well.
A senior BJP functionary on condition of anonymity said the “outstanding issues will be taken up” and sought to downplay the differences that have cropped up between the allies.
After the 2019 general election, this is the second time that the BJP has been drawn into a disagreement with an ally. Soon after the Maharashtra assembly election; the BJP fell out with its oldest ally, the Shiv Sena over power sharing in the state. At the time, Sena had demanded a rotational chief minister, but the BJP turned down the suggestion. Eventually, the two allies parted ways and the Sena joined hands with the Congress and the NCP to form the Maha Vikas Aghadi coalition government in the state.
On Wednesday, BJP chief JP Nadda described the three bills as revolutionary, adding that this farsighted legislation will lead to empowerment of farmers. He said the farmers would be free to sell their produce in a competitive market of their choice and only the Congress is opposed to them. When asked about the SAD’s opposition to the bills, Nadda indicated the issues had been resolved.