Farm laws gone, but Akalis adamant on not returning to NDA fold

Harsimrat Kaur, a former minister in the NDA government who had resigned following the protest, said the Centre should now make minimum support price "a legal right" for farmers

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Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal.

The Centre blinked first by repealing the three farm laws that led to widespread farmers’ agitations since last year. The Shiromani Akali Dal, a former NDA constituent, which left the alliance then in protest, has, however, refused to join hands with the BJP again for the upcoming Punjab elections.

Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal said “no” when asked by media person if he may consider returning to the NDA fold.

Sukhbir Singh Badal told media persons: “Over 700 lives were lost (at the farmers’ protests)… the country saw the martyrdom of these people. I had told the Prime Minister… that the farmers won’t agree to the black laws that were framed by the government.”

Senior Akali Dal leader Parkash Singh Badal too hit out at Modi after his address to the nation on Friday morning. “While I congratulate farmers of Punjab, the country, and the world, my first thoughts goes to families of 700 farmers martyred in the noble struggle! This, and the disgraceful incidents like Lakhimpur Kheri will always remain a dark blot on this government’s face,” he said.

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Also read: Why the repeal of Farm Laws should be celebrated as democratic victory

Eight people, including four farmers, were run over allegedly by Union Minister Ajay Mishra’s son, Ashish, in UP’s Lakhimpur last month, triggering nationwide condemnation.

Harsimrat Kaur, a former minister in the NDA government and Akali leader who had resigned following the protest, said the Centre should now make minimum support price “a legal right” for the farmers.

Another senior Akali leader, Majinder Singh Sirsa, congratulated the farmers for their success and urged them to return to their homes.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday morning delivered a special speech announcing the Centre’s decision to repeal the three agricultural laws, saying his government could not convince a section of farmers about the benefits the new legislations.

Also read: Modi’s repeal of farm laws may not cut ice in poll-bound UP, Punjab

The three farm laws – Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 and Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 – were enacted by the Parliament in September 2020.

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