Long term NDA member Shiromani Akali Dal has announced that it is leaving the BJP led alliance over the farm bill issue. The Akali Dal has been protesting against the three bills reforming the farm sector which were passed by the parliament in the just concluded monsoon session.
After the bills were passed, Akali leader and union food processing minister had resigned from the government in protest against the bills, hinting at possible split in the alliance.
The party said that it is breaking the alliance due to refusal of the govt to “give statutory legislative guarantees to protect assured marketing of crops on MSP and its continued insensitivity to Punjabi and Sikh issues.”
Although despite misinformation spread by opposition, the system of govt procuring of food grains at MSP continues even after the amendment of laws, now the opposition, and the Akalis, are demanding that MSP should be guaranteed even for procurement by private parties. They are also demanding that the amount of MSP should be determined in the relevant act itself.
The three bills passed by the govt are, The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020. These bills end the monopoly of APMCs allowing farmers to sell their produce anywhere the best the price they can get, allows contact farming.
Apart from the farm bills, the Akali Dal is also objecting over the recent amendment of the Jammu and Kashmir Official Languages Bill, as Punjabi was not included as an official language of the union territory. The amendment had included Kashmiri, Dogri and Hindi to the list official languages of the Jammu and Kashmir. Before this, only Urdu and English were official languages of the former state. SAD was demanding that Punjabi also should be included, considering large Punjabi speaking population in the UT.
Despite the departure of SAD, the Narendra Modi govt faces no danger as BJP alone enjoys majority in the Lok Sabha, while SAD has only two MPs in the house. Akali Dal is the second major NDA to leave the alliance after Shiv Sena in Maharashtra.