Akali Dal snaps ties with NDA over farm Bills

Days after Shiromani Akali Dal MP Harsimrat Kaur resigned as a Union minister following the passage of the contentious farm Bills in the Lok Sabha, the party snapped ties with the NDA on Saturday. The departure of SAD, a long-time ally of the BJP, comes amid massive protests in Punjab and Haryana. It could also trouble the BJP ahead of the assembly elections in Bihar. The SAD 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 and its continued insensitivity to Punjabi and Sikh issues like excluding Punjabi language as official language in Jammu and Kashmir”. It becomes the third major NDA ally to pull out of the grouping after the Shiv Sena and the TDP.

Hours before its big decision, SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal had demanded immediate promulgation of an Ordinance by the Punjab government to declare the whole of the state as an agriculture market (mandi) to ensure that Center’s new “anti-farmer Acts do not apply in the state”.

Quoting the former chief minister, SAD tweeted, “CM @capt_amarinder must act to safeguard the farmers. If the CM declares the whole state a Mandi for agricultural produce, the big corporate sharks would not be able to enter the state & thus, the farmers here would be saved from their exploitation.”

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