The Lok Sabha on Thursday passed two bills related to the agriculture sector amid protests by the Opposition and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), a constituent of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA). The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill were passed by voice vote as the Congress, DMK and Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) members staged a walkout.
Another bill related to the farm sector, the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, was passed on Tuesday. These three bills will replace ordinances promulgated by the government earlier.
The bills were cleared by the Lower House after SAD member and Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal resigned from the Narendra Modi government in protest. SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal informed the the Lok Sabha about the development.
Congress MPs from Punjab earlier today burnt copies of the farm bills inside the Parliament complex even as the party staged a protest in front of Mahatma Gandhi's statue.
In his speech during a discussion on two of the farm bills, Badal said the proposed laws will "destroy" the 50 years of hard work put in by successive Punjab governments and farmers to build the agriculture sector.
Badal later said his party will decide on whether to remain in the ruling NDA or not in a meeting of the party later. Speaking to reporters outside Parliament, Badal said the SAD is ready to make any sacrifice for farmers and their welfare.
Kaur, who submitted her resignation to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), said, "I don't want to be part of a government which brought farm sector bills without addressing apprehensions of farmers."