‘What politics?’: Farmers protesting against farm bills everywhere, says Harsimrat Kaur Badal after quitting
President Ram Nath Kovind accepted her resignation from the Union Cabinet and directed that Narendra Singh Tomar be assigned the additional charge of the ministry, according to a press release.Updated: Sep 18, 2020, 13:52 IST
Harsimrat Kaur Badal, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader who stepped down as the Union food processing minister on Thursday night, said on Friday farmers all across India are protesting against the three bills seeking to liberalise agricultural markets.
Harsimrat Kaur Badal had on Thursday resigned from the Union Cabinet in protest against three “anti-farmer” ordinances and legislation, which were approved by the Lok Sabha amid opposition protests.
“I said the government should bring the bills after consultation with stakeholders. What is politics in this? Farmers are agitating not only in Punjab but also in Haryana, Rajasthan, UP, Maharashtra. There is opposition in south India,” Harsimrat Kaur Badal was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
President Ram Nath Kovind accepted her resignation from the Union Cabinet and directed that Narendra Singh Tomar be assigned the additional charge of the ministry, according to a press release.
The SAD had been asking the Centre not to go ahead with the three agriculture-related bills for approval of Parliament “until all reservations expressed by farmers’ organisations, farmers and farm labourers” are addressed.
Though the new measures, which are aimed at freeing up farm trade from restrictions, at guaranteeing a legal framework for pre-agreed prices, and at laying down a new architecture for contract farming, have been hailed by economists, farmer groups fear that they will lead to exploitation by big food-trading monopolies.
“I have resigned from Union Cabinet in protest against anti-farmer ordinances and legislation. Proud to stand with farmers as their daughter and sister,” Harsimrat Kaur Badal wrote in a Twitter message.
Before her comment, the chief of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Punjab unit said Harsimrat Kaur Badal’s resignation was the “political decision” of the Shiromani Akali Dal. Ashwani Sharma said the three bills brought by the BJP-led Centre are in the interest of the farming community. He said these three bills would “surely play an important role in boosting farm income”.
“Akali Dal is a part of the NDA but it is a separate political outfit. They have taken this decision because of some political reasons. We have an alliance (SAD-BJP) but both are different political outfits. They (SAD) have taken a political decision,” Sharma said, according to PTI.
He added that the SAD had said they are part of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) when he was asked about the continuation of the alliance between the parties.
SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal had said in Delhi on Thursday that his party’s future course of action and whether to stay in the BJP-led alliance or not will be decided in a party meeting later.