Agriculture World

Harsimrat Kaur Badal Quits Modi’s Cabinet in Protest against Anti-farmer Ordinances & Legislation

P. Godha Hiranmayee
P. Godha Hiranmayee
harsimrat kaur
Harsimrat Kaur Badal

Akali Dal’s union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal resigned from the union cabinet as her party faced hostility from farmers over its initial support to affiliate BJP’s farm sector bills. The minister, who attended the cabinet meet that cleared the bills, stepped down shortly before the bills were passed by the Lok Sabha, tweeting that she was “Proud to stand with farmers as their daughter & sister’”. Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Badal said they would support the government from outside but confront “anti-farmer policies”. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, however, pointed out that the Akalis still stand with the BJP & called the resignation a “trick to fool the farmers of Punjab. 

Here are the pivotal points in this big story: 

  • The bills passedthrough Lok Sabha as the opposition parties walked out. Most of the opposition parties & some of those that lend issue-based support to the government, including Naveen Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal & the TRS, were opposed to the bills. 

  • The bills-which the BJP claims is big ticket reform in the Agri-sector have hugely upset the farmers of Punjab & Haryana, who have been holding protests for weeks.The government said the bills, which would replace the three ordinances issued in June, will help farmers across the country get a better market & price for their produce. 

  • The Akalis, who initially supported the laws, made a U-turn this week after realizing the depth of the farmers’  The party had appealed to the Centre to hold off the bills till the concerns of the farmers are addressed. But with the BJP’s decision to push through the bills, the Akalis decided to withdraw support & vote against the bills in parliament. 

  • Sukhbir Singh Badal said the proposed two bills-the Produce Trade & Commerce & the Price Assurance & Farm Services Bill will “destroy” the 50 years of hard work done by successive Punjab governments to build the farm sector. 

  • Earlier, Badal had claimed that Harsimrat Kaur had “expressed reservations when the matter was taken up during a cabinet meeting”. She had said her ministry opposed the proposal during the inter-ministerial consultation too. 

  • But most political parties have been pessimistic about the claim. Calling the claim “totally wrong”, Punjab Health minister Balbir Singh Sidhu said “If you are genuinely sympathetic towards the interests of farmers & Punjab, then immediately break the party’s association with the Modi government at the Centre”. 

  • “Farmers trust in Shiromani Akali Dal is sacred to us & we are proud to preserve the glorious legacy of fight for farmers,” Harsimrat Kaur Badal said. “I have resigned from Union Cabinet in protest against anti-farmer ordinances & legislation. Proud to stand with farmers as their daughter & sister,” she tweeted later.

  • On Tuesday, Mr. Badal voted against the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, which endeavors to deregulate agricultural food items, including cereals, pulses & onion.

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