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Harsimrat Kaur quits Union Cabinet; Rift opens up in SAD-BJP alliance
The resignation of Harsimrat Kaur was announced by her husband and SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal. The SAD has been under pressure from farmers of Punjab who are against the Bills. While the BJP claimed the Bills will empower the farmers, the Opposition parties said they would lead to abolition of the MSP. The SAD is the second party to have had serious differences with the BJP in recent times, after Shiv Sena.

NEW DELHI, Sept 18: Differences between Shiromani Akali Dal and the BJP erupted on Thursday following the resignation of Harsimrat Kaur, Food Processing Minister, from the Union Cabinet in protest against the farm Bills which were passed by the Lok Sabha. The BJP has ruled out any threat to the alliance.

"I have resigned from the Union Cabinet in protest againt the anti-farmer ordinances and legislation. Proud to stand with farmers as their daughter and sister," Harsimrat Kaur said.

It was her husband Sukhbir Singh Badal, SAD chief, who made the announcement of the resignation.

The Shiromani Akali Dal had opposed the three farm Bills saying they were anti-farmer. "Alliance doesn't mean we will change our agenda," the SAD said.

Harsimrat Kaur claimed in her letter to the Prime Minister that she was under the impression the ordinance was a "temporary arrangement."

On the other hand, the BJP described the three Bills as revolutionary and farsighted that will lead to the empowerment of the farmers. As per the legislation, the farmers would be free to sell their produce in a competitive market of their choice.

The SAD has been under pressure from farmers of Punjab who have been protesting against the Bills.

The Opposition parties said the Bills would abolish MSP, facilitate entry of private companies and lead to contract farming. They said agriculture is a State subject.

The Bills replace the ordinances issued in June last.

The SAD is the second party to have expressed serious differences with the BJP in recent times. After the Maharashtra elections, the Shiv Sena fell out with the BJP and formed the Maha Vikas Aghadi coalition to form the State Government.

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