Union minister and Shiromani Akali Dal’s (SAD) Lok Sabha MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal resign from the Narendra Modi government as a protest against the three farm bills that have been introduced by the Modi government in Parliament. Harsimrat Kaur Badal, who held the portfolio of Union Minister for Food Processing, said she is “proud” to stand with the farmers against the bills.
Earlier in the day, her husband and Akali Dal president Sukbhir Singh Badal 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. 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.
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’.
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.