Days after he defended the three central farm ordinaces, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) patriarch Parkash Singh Badal Saturday described the resignation of party MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal from the Union Cabinet as “bold, historic and a principled stand” taken “to save the beleaguered peasantry in Punjab and the rest of the country.”
“I am pleased and proud that when the hour of reckoning arrived, my party held aloft the flag of justice for farmers and other exploited sections of society,” Badal said, adding if farmers and agricultural economy suffer, the whole economy, including trade and industry, of the country will suffer too.
“Lure of office means nothing to an Akali. Countless times, as during the Emergency, we turned down outright offers of power as a price for silence against injustice. We always spurned such offers and preferred to stand by the country and principles, and filled jails for that. That tradition will always live on,” the five-time former chief minister of Punjab said in a statement here.
In a 10-minute video released by the SAD on September 3 titled “Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh is misleading farmers on Agriculture Reform Ordinances”, Badal had defended the ordinances saying that “Union agriculture minister has also given a statement that it could never happen that MSP regime could end.”
Badal described the party’s decision to pull out of the Union Cabinet and fight alongside the farmers as “a proud and a landmark moment in the party’s long history of standing up for principles and of always being on the side of the people whenever a line is drawn”.
“The Punjab farmers always came to the country’s rescue when it needed to be saved from the ignominy of famines and dependence on other nations. They did so by sacrificing their natural resources — water levels and soil fertility. Today, it is the country’s turn to stand by the farmers,” he said.
Badal said that the SAD has always upheld the Panthic traditions of raising its voice in defense of the righteous causes, and “after the decision of our minister to quit the Union government to fight for the farmers’ interests, I have no doubt that this tradition will be carried forward strongly and unflinchingly.”
Congratulating Harsimrat, who is also his daughter-in-law, for “speaking out boldly for the farmers and for promising to stand by them”, he said and also hailed the Core Committee of the party on its “ bold, historic and principled stand .”
The proposed legislation on marketing of the farmers’ produce needed wider consultations, especially with the stakeholders, the farmers, as well as with parties like the SAD, he said. Badal said he was satisfied that as a “mature” representative of the people, the SAD tried to convey the sentiments of farmers to the Centre and tried its best to persuade it to refer the proposed legislation to an all-party select committee of MPs.
“The party tried to act as a bridge to find an amicable way to fully accommodate the farmers’ interests. But I am glad that when that did not seem possible, and a line had to be drawn, the SAD stood on the right side of the line and did the only thing that its proud heritage demanded — quit the government. The SAD could never be a party to anything which harms the interests of farmers,” he said.
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