Harsimrat Kaur Badal's resignation a gimmick to fool farmers: Punjab CM Amarinder Singh
Chandigarh, Sep 17: 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”.
The minister quit the Narendra Modi government after Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal announced that she would resign in protest against the three agri-marketing Bills.
The Bills, meant to deregulate the sale of farm produce, have been opposed by several farmer organisations, fearing 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, the chief minister 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?” he said 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?” the CM added.
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 at the Centre, the CM said Harsimrat 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 CM’s 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.