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‘Kicked my chair’: Harsimrat Badal on quitting Union Cabinet over farm bills

TALWANDI SABO: Days after resigning from the Union cabinet, Bathinda MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Thursday said she “kicked” her chair as she felt it was a “shame” to continue as a minister after the Centre decided to bring farm Bills in Parliament.
The former Union food processing industries minister claimed that she had given an adverse noting when the draft legislation was shared with her ministry.
“I even requested that the matter be referred to a select committee pending discussion with farmers. However, when I came to know the ‘kala kanoon’ (black law) was being tabled in Parliament, I decided to resign,” the Shiromani Akali Dal leader said.
“I felt it was a shame to sit on my chair any longer; kicked it promptly and decided to stand with farmers,” Harsimrat said addressing a gathering, according to a party statement.
The ex-Union minister claimed that she had told the government to take farmers into confidence before bringing the Bills. “I tried continuously for two and half months,” she claimed.
She said when their pleas went “unheard”, Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal decided to oppose the bills in Parliament.
Harsimrat said as she has resigned, she will join hands with farmers in their fight against the legislations.
“I need your blessings for this task,” she told the gathering even as she appealed to all political parties to unite to fight for the cause.
SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal said no alliance or government was important for the party before the welfare of farmers and that his party will fulfil its responsibility towards the ‘annadata’ (farmers) come what may.
Sukhbir said the SAD had taken a consistent stand from day one and told farmer representatives that the party will fulfil its responsibility as and when required.
“We did this by voting against the agricultural bills in Parliament and resigning from the Union cabinet. It is only after Harsimrat Kaur Badal resigned from the cabinet that the opposition was galvanised and opposed the bills forcefully in the Rajya Sabha,” he claimed.
Sukhbir said the party decided to vote against the Bills after the NDA-led government refused to make the minimum support price a statutory right as demanded by farmers and the SAD.
“Earlier we had met with farmer organisations and they had expressed their fears about the end of the MSP regime and the SAD had conveyed this to the Centre following which the agriculture minister had given an assurance that the MSP will stay. However, when farmer organisations told us that they wanted a law on the MSP, we took a stand and even resigned from the government when this was not accepted,” he said.
Source Times of India

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