Harsimrat Badal’s resignation

Amid farmers’ agitation, PM slams middlemen for misinformation

Harsimrat Badal’s resignation

Harsimrat Kaur Badal. File photo

In the glare of unbridled power, the saffron ties forged by first-generation Jana Sangh leaders like AB Vajpayee and LK Advani have frayed so badly that their ‘ideological allies’ have started seeking out political alternatives. Shiv Sena did the unthinkable of joining a Congress-NCP alliance simply to keep the big brother out of power in Maharashtra. Now, the older ally too has broken the barriers of saffron brotherhood by quitting the Union government, albeit staying within the National Democratic Alliance. The resignation of Union Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal from the Cabinet has seemingly more to do with a trust deficit than the farmers’ agitation. Akali rebel Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa getting feted by the government and the Akalis’ refusal to contest the Delhi Assembly polls as a BJP ally were all pointers towards a troubled relationship.

The Akali Dal-RSS alliance was cemented in 1967 when the

Gurnam Singh government was propped up in Punjab by Jana Sangh and the Communists. And it was with Jana Sangh support that Parkash Singh Badal first got sworn in as Chief Minister on March 27, 1970, as the leader of the Akali Dal (Sant group) along with Balwant Singh and Balram Das Tandon of Jana Sangh. It is this 50-year-long relationship that is getting severely strained as Badal’s daughter-in-law walks out of the government.

The three farm Bills were discussed and approved by the Union Cabinet, where Harsimrat Badal could have put her foot down. The new laws dismantling the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee regime allowing farmers the benefit of seamless movement of produce with the protection of Minimum Support Price seemed a progressive step for the farmers till a statewide agitation shook the political leadership. The Congress turned it into a successful mobilisation ploy against the Centre and the Akalis, leaving the Badals with little choice but to cut themselves adrift as they launch the 2022 poll campaign. It is still not clear whether the agitation is triggered by the fears of the arhtiyas or farmers, for PM Narendra Modi, while reaffirming the continuance of MSP, has slammed middlemen for misinforming the farmers.

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