The decades-old ties between BJP-SAD have ended on Saturday. Punjab’s Shiromani Akali Dal decided to quit its longtime membership of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) over the contentious farm sector reform bills that cleared Parliament last week.
The Sukhbir Singh Badal-led party had opposed the three farm bills in the Lok Sabha, leading to Cabinet minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal’s resignation. This decision drew praise from Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar. The NCP has opposed the bills in Parliament for being ‘anti-farmer’.
In a tweet, Sharad Pawar said, “Congratulations to Shri Sukhbir Singh Badal, President of @Akali_Dal_ and MP @HarsimratBadal_ who under the leadership of Hon. Shri Prakash Singh Badal pulled out of NDA in a protest to Farmers’ Bills. Thanks for firmly standing with the Farmers!”
The Akali Dal chief then thanked Pawar in response and reaffirmed support to the farmers. “Thanks Pawar Sahab for your kind words. We all stand with #farmers of the country!” replied Badal in his tweet. The decision of pulling out of the BJP-led NDA alliance was taken unanimously at the core committee meeting of SAD.
Apart from Centre’s stance on the agriculture bills, the party also talked of “its continued insensitivity to Punjabi and Sikh issues like not including Punjabi language in the list of official languages in Jammu and Kashmir”. The meeting was presided over by the SAD President Sukhbir Singh Badal. The decision came at the end of a meeting that lasted over three hours.
Addressing the media later, SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal said that the party will continue to stand by its core principles of “peace, communal harmony and guarding the interest of Punjab, Punjabis in general and Sikhs and farmers in particular”.
He said the decision has been taken in consultation with the people of Punjab, especially party workers and farmers.
Badal said that the bills on agricultural marketing brought by the BJP-led government were “lethal and disastrous” for the already beleaguered farmers.
SAD leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal had quit from the union cabinet as Food Processing Minister over the agriculture bills.