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‘Out of compulsion’: Punjab Congress chief Jakhar on Harsimrat Kaur Badal’s resignation

Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar on Friday called Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal’s resignation from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet over the Centre’s farm bills a ‘compulsion.’

Jakhar further said the SAD has, in fact, ended up ‘making a laughing stock of themselves.’ “It was a compulsion. It wasn’t out of any love for farmers. For four months they tried to fool farmers but ended up making a laughing stock of themselves. I think people have seen through it,” he said.

“In process, they also lost their respect in the NDA. Precisely because they have no backing from farmers, Modi ji thought it well to dump them because without support from farmers, the SAD is nothing but a burden for them,” the Congress leader added.  

Congress leaders have been among vocal critics of the bills, with four MPs from Punjab burning copies of the legislations inside the Parliament premises on Thursday. They have called the bills a ‘death knell for the future of farming.’

Farmers across Punjab and Haryana have been protesting for the last few weeks against the central government’s three new farm bills, which, they say, will lead to the dismantling of the minimum support price (MSP), thus leaving them at the ‘mercy’ of big corporates.

The government, however, says the bills will help farmers across the country get a better market and price for their produce. Prime Minister Modi has himself given assurance the MSP will stay.

The SAD, which will continue to support the government from outside, for now, is the oldest ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is in power at the Centre.

Badal was the sole representative of the Punjab-based party in the central government, as food processing industries minister. Her portfolio has been allocated as an additional charge to Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar.

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