Amid a nationwide contention over the three farm laws recently passed by the Narendra Modi-led central government, a former Lok Sabha MP from Punjab, Harinder Singh Khalsa, has resigned from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in protest over the "insensitivity" shown by party leaders to the farmers' struggle.
According to news agency ANI, Khalsa resigned from the saffron party to protest "the insensitivity shown by party leaders and the government towards the sufferings of the farmers, their wives and children protesting against the three agrarian laws".
Khalsa was earlier suspended from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in 2019, following which he joined the BJP in March last year.
Khalsa, who belongs to the SC community, had won the 2014 Lok Sabha polls on the Aam Aadmi Party's ticket, but was suspended from the party in 2015.
He started his political carrier in Punjab with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).
BJP leaders in Punjab had been facing the brunt of the farmers' demands to repeal the contentious agricultural laws, while the saffron party continues to allege that the Congress government is provoking the farmers and intentionally "misleading" them on the laws.
Meanwhile, another BJP ally, the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP), led by Hanuman Beniwal, also decided to quit the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) on Saturday amid a longstanding row over the contentious farm laws passed by the central government.
He had said that the BJP will have to choose and it has to be fast, now that the farmers' crisis have stretched beyond a month. Looking at the rapid developments, it seems like all the difficult decisions were made from both party quarters.
Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana and other parts of the country have been protesting for the past nearly a month near various border points of the national capital, demanding the repeal of the farm laws, which the ruling party has claimed are for farmers' benefit.
Meanwhile, several rounds of talks between ministers and farmers' leaders have failed to produce a breakthrough so far.
The farmers have been protesting against the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
(With inputs from agencies)