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Akalis pull the plug on NDA alliance at Centre over agri Bills

While the BJP says the agri Bills will make the farmers self-reliant, SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal said the Bills brought by the BJP are lethal for the beleaguered farmers. When all attempts to block the Bills failed, SAD Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal had resigned from the Union Cabinet in protest.

NEW DELHI, Sept 27: The Shiromani Akali Dal, the oldest ally of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at the Centre, has left the alliance over differences on the agrarian Bills which were passed by Parliament early this week despite their objections.

"The SAD core committee, in a meeting presided over by party president, (on Saturday) decided unanimously to pull out of the BJP- led NDA alliance because of centre’s stubbornness on Agri Ordinances & its continued insensitivity towards excluding Punjabi language as official language in J&K," the Akali Dal tweeted.

The BJP says the Bills will make the farmers self-reliant. While the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill gives freedom to the farmers to sell their produce, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill gives the farmers the right to enter into a contract with agro processors, wholesalers, exporters and others for sale of future produce at a pre-agreed price, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill seeks to remove commodities like cereals, pulses, oilseeds, onion, and potato from the list of essential commodities.

SAD president and former Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab Sukhbir Singh Badal on Saturday urged all political parties and farmer unions to unite against the Central Government. He was addressing party workers at Gurdwara Bhadurgarh Sahib in Patiala.

"Agri Bills brought by the BJP govt are lethal for the beleaguered farmers, but SAD will continue to stand by its core principles of peace, communal harmony & guard the interest of Punjab, Punjabi in general & Sikhs & farmers in particular,” S. Sukhbir Singh Badal.

The SAD wanted to hold the Bills till “all reservations” of the farmers are “duly addressed”. Again when the Bills were introduced the Akalis asked the Government to send these farm bills to a select committee. Having failed in these attempts, Harsimrat Kaur Badal resigned from the Union Cabinet in protest.

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