Parkash Singh Badal, former Punjab Chief Minister and Akali Dal leader, returns Padma Vibhushan to protest “betrayal of farmers by government”. The decision comes months after the Shiromani Akali Dal quit the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) over the then farm bills.
According to a party statement released in September, SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal said the decision to quit the NDA was taken because of the Centre’s stubborn refusal to give statutory legislative guarantees to protect assured marketing of farmers crops on MSP.
The SAD became the third major NDA ally to pull out of the grouping after the Shiv Sena and the TDP.
Sukhbir Badal had said the laws on agricultural marketing brought by the BJP-led government are lethal and disastrous for the already beleaguered farmers. He said the SAD was the oldest ally of the BJP, but the government did not listen to it in honouring the sentiments of farmers.
Pressure has been mounting on the Centre for over a week now since thousand of farmers marched towards Delhi as part of their ‘Dilli Chalo’ protest. The agitation saw face-off with security personnel near Delhi’s borders with Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana, blocking traffic on the route. Several popular faces from the Punjab entertainment industry have lent support to the farmers. Bhim Army chief Chandrasekhar Azad has also been visiting the agitation.