'Too Late': Harsimrat's Resignation as Union Minister Over Farm Bills Part of 'Theatrics', Says Punjab CM

File photo of Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh

File photo of Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh

Questioning the party's decision to continue to remain a part of the BJP-led NDA coalition, Singh said even Harsimrat Kaur Badal's resignation was nothing more than a gimmick to befool the farmers of Punjab.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday called the resignation of Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal over the farm bills introduced by the Centre in Parliament as nothing more than a gimmick. Kaur quit the Narendra Modi government after Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal announced she would resign in protest against the three agricultural marketing Bills.

The Bills, meant to deregulate the sale of farm produce, have been opposed by several farmer organisations in fear they will lead to the dismantling of the minimum support price (MSP) regime. Had the SAD taken a stand earlier and supported his government against the farm ordinances, the Centre might have thought ten times before pushing the anti-farmer Bills in Parliament, Singh said.

"Did Sukhbir and Harsimrat and their coterie not see the damage the legislation would do to Punjab's agriculture and economy all this time?" Singh asked in a statement. "Or were they so blinded by their greed for power that they deliberately chose to close their eyes to the danger posed by the ordinances?"

Singh said the resignation announcement was another in a long chain of theatrics enacted by the Akali Dal, which has still not quit the ruling coalition despite the slap on their face by the central government over the farm bills. Questioning the SAD decision to remain with the BJP-led NDA coalition, he said Kaur's resignation was nothing more than a gimmick to befool the farmers of Punjab.

But they will not succeed in misleading the farmer organisations, he said, calling it a case of "too little, too late". The resignation from the Union Cabinet has come too late to be of any help to Punjab and its farmers, the statement said.

The SAD decision to pull out its sole minister in the Union Cabinet was motivated not by any concern for the farmers but to save its political fortunes and the fizzling political careers of the Badals who had lost all credibility in the eyes of Punjab's people, he claimed. He said it was the farmers' anger and the pressure mounted by the state's farmer organisations that had compelled the Badals to change their stance.

Now that their game plan was exposed, the Akalis were left with no option but to take a public stand against the Bills to protect their vote bank in Punjab, he claimed. The Centre had on Monday introduced in Parliament the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020 to replace the ordinances promulgated earlier.

(With inputs from PTI)

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