SAD should now quit central govt, says farm cell head Maluka

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Bathinda With a dharna by agitated farmers outside the residence of former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal entering its third day on Thursday, farmers’ cell head of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) Sikander Singh Maluka said the party should now quit being part of the Central government.

“As a whip has been issued, SAD’s five MPs (two in Lok Sabha and three in Rajya Sabha) are bound to vote against the controversial farm bills. The coalition dharma says an ally should quit the partnership, if it opts to vote against the bill moved by the government. There is a general feeling that quitting the ministerial berth in the Centre is the only option that Bathinda MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal had,” Maluka, a confidant of the Badal family, told HT on Thursday.

Activists of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan) started a six-day dharna outside the residence of Badal at Muktsar district’s Badal village on Tuesday. Maluka, also a core committee member of SAD, said Akalis had a historic political association with the BJP, but the party chose to oppose the farm bills as it always stands with masses.

On September 3, SAD had released a video message of the Akali patriarch Badal stating the three ordinances (now bills) are in favour of the farming community. Badal had charged chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh and other political parties of misinterpreting the bills as anti-farmers.

Maluka, however, admitted that the party had to oppose the bills due to widespread resentment among farmers. SAD opted to be the voice of farmers as the common agriculturist seriously apprehend that assured purchase by the government would be gradually taken over by the private sector, and the corporate sector would monopolise agriculture.

“It is still being debated if the bills are in the interests of farming or not. But, a common farmer has been made to understand it is against the agrarian community. SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal’s opposition of the bills on the floor of the House has been welcomed by our entire chain of workers,” Maluka added.

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