Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) member and Union Minister of Food Processing, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, on Thursday, resigned from the Union Cabinet saying the Shiromani Akali Dal could never be a party to any decision that goes against the interests of the farmers.
“My decision symbolizes my party’s vision, its glorious legacy and its commitment to go to any lengths in fighting for and safeguarding the interests of the farmers,” she said in a four-page letter of resignation addressed to the Prime Minister.
“I am proud that today I am able in my humble way to take that legacy forward,” said Badal, adding that she deemed it an honor that farmers always have the greatest expectations from SAD alone, and that the party has always lived up to those expectations.
“That legacy will not change, come what may. The trust farmers place in us is sacred to us,” she said.
She said that her decision was “ guided by the iconic legacy of Sardar Parkash Singh Badal for fighting to defend national interests, be it against the Emergency or for the establishment of a federal structure in the country as well as preserving externals security or food security.”
Later talking to newspersons, she said that she did not consider her step as any “sacrifice” but just a natural and normal course for any proud Akali wedded to the Panthic values and to the cause of the farmers, whom she described as “annadata” of the nation. “The real sacrifices are made by the farmers themselves. I am just standing by them as their daughter and sister.”
In her letter to the Prime Minister, Badal said her decision follows “the decision of the Government of India to go ahead with the controversial Bills without addressing and removing the apprehensions of the farmers and the decision of the Shiromani Akali Dal not to be a part of something that is anti farmers.”
She has requested the Prime Minister to accept her resignation “with immediate effect.” Badal said that “before during and after the promulgation of the three Ordinances”, she had tried her best to persuade the Cabinet to take the actual stakeholders of this decision, the farmers, onboard, and remove their apprehensions and concerns.
“All this while, I was given the impression that since an Ordinance is only a temporary arrangement, my concerns and pleas would be addressed while legislating on the issue in the Parliament.” But, Badal said, she was deeply hurt that despite her and her party’s persistent pleas and efforts in this regard, the government had not taken the farmers on board.”
She said that her party, “always followed the great Guru Sahiban who have taught us never to compromise on one’s principles and to stand up for what one strongly believes to be right. That is precisely what I am doing today,” she said.
Mrs Badal however expressed satisfaction that she was able to live up to the expectations of the people who have placed their complete trust in her.
Describing her tenure as minister as “a remarkable and most memorable period of my life”, she said she was satisfied that ”the NDA govt delivered on many critical and long-standing issues of the Sikh community, including justice for thousands of innocent Sikhs who were subjected to 1984 massacre by Congress goons.”The survivors of victims finally saw a ray of hope and a glimpse of justice. Sajjan Kumar is behind the bars and the law has caught up with scores of others. Prime culprits like Jagdish Tytler.”
She also expressed satisfaction that the SAD as part of the NDA government was able to get the dreaded Black Lists of Sikhs abroad abolished and rescue Sikhs trapped in Afghanistan and some other parts of the world.”
Meanwhile, the CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury tweeted: “This resignation of Akali Dal, the oldest ally of BJP reflects rejection of the anti-farmer, anti-people policies of Modi government. These legislations destroy Indian agriculture, undermine food security and ruin our ‘annadaatas’. Scrap them.”