Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Former Minister of Food Processing Industries, resigned yesterday. She, along with other Akali Dal members strongly refuted the Farm Bill 2020. They believe that the Shiromani Akali Dal Party stands with the farmers and their party does not stand with the three agriculture bills. The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce Bill 2020 announced earlier this week faced a lot of backlash from the farmers all across India.
Harsimrat Kaur Badal resigned amidst growing protests
Shiromani Akali Dal is BJP’s oldest tally. However, they do not stand with the government with its newest Bill and thus, resigned from their respective roles. Harsimrat’s resignation was announced by her husband and fellow Akali MP, Sukhbir Singh Badal. He said that it is not a party that will do anything against the interest of the farmers.
I have resigned from Union Cabinet in protest against anti-farmer ordinances and legislation. Proud to stand with farmers as their daughter & sister.
— Harsimrat Kaur Badal (@HarsimratBadal_) September 17, 2020
Sukhbir Singh Badal said that the entire Shiromani Akali Dal stands with the notion that “Every Akali is a farmer, and every farmer is an Akali.” Her resignation is such a strong move to show her non-approval of the three ordinances. They re:
- The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020
- The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement
- The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020
Earlier, she said that she had told the government about the farmers’ reservations. Farmers in Punjab and Haryana are among those who stand against the Bills. Furthermore, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh stands with the Badals to oppose the ordinances now.
President of India Ram Nath Kovind, as advised by the Prime Minister, has accepted the resignation of Harsimrat Kaur Badal (in file pic) from the Union Council of Ministers, with immediate effect: Rashtrapati Bhavan. pic.twitter.com/t8UQZ1jJJY
— ANI (@ANI) September 18, 2020
In her letter to the PM which is accepted by Rashtriya Bhawan, Harsimrat Kaur Badal wrote, “the decision of the government of India to go ahead with the controversial bills without addressing and removing the apprehensions of farmers and the decision of the Shiromani Akali Dal not to be a part of something that is anti-farmer.”
Harsimrat Kaur Badal said that in her opinion, ten ordinances would go into further deliberation, so the passing of the bills in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha was an unexpected move for her. Her four-page resignation letter also states that she will stand with her party and “go to any extent to safeguard the interests of farmers.“
Why are people opposing the ordinances?
The peasantry class fears that if an elite group of farmers will take over the mandis, it will lead to monopoly and reduce other producers as mere slaves/captives. The government has so far remained firm in its stand with the Bills. Farmers also fear that if they do not get Minimum Support prices, they will not survive. Furthermore, Commission agents also fear that they will lose their commissions. In Punjab, there are more than 12 lakh farming families and 28,000 registered commission agents, according to Punjab Agricultural University.
Akalis’ decision may also come off as a strategy in the wake of farmers’ opposition to secure more seats that will favor in their survival.