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Shiromani Akali Dal pulls out of NDA over farm bills

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New Delhi, Sep 26: Shiromani Akali Dal on Saturday pulled out of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA alliance days after Harsimrat Kaur resigned from the Union cabinet over contentious farm bills.

Sukhbir Singh Badal

The decision to leave the NDA was taken at the party's high-level meeting presided over by party president Sukhbir Singh Badal.

According to a party statement issued here, 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 and its continued insensitivity to Punjabi and Sikh issues like excluding Punjabi language as official language in Jammu and Kashmir."

The SAD becomes the third major NDA ally to pull out of the grouping after the Shiv Sena and the TDP.

Badal said the SAD will continue to stand by its core principles of peace, communal harmony and guard the interest of Punjab and Punjabi in general, and Sikhs and farmers in particular.

Security beefed up at Delhi borders amid protests against farm billsSecurity beefed up at Delhi borders amid protests against farm bills

He said the decision has been taken in consultation with the people of Punjab, especially party workers and farmers.

Badal said the Bills 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.

The Modi Government has maintained that the MSP system will stay and has accused the opposition of misleading farmers on the issue.

"If pain and protests of three crore Punjabis fail to melt the rigid stance of the Centre, it is no longer the NDA envisioned by Vajpayee ji and Badal sahab," Harsimrat tweeted.

The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill seeks to give freedom to farmers to sell their produce outside the notified APMC market yards (mandis).

This, the government says, is aimed at facilitating remunerative prices through competitive alternative trading channels.

The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 seeks to give farmers the right to enter into a contract with agribusiness firms, processors, wholesalers, exporters, or large retailers for the sale of future farming produce at a pre-agreed price.

The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill seeks to remove commodities like cereals, pulses, oilseeds, onion, and potato from the list of essential commodities and will do away with the imposition of stock holding limits.

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