Shiromani Akali Dal leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Saturday denied having ever backed the three farm laws passed by both the Houses of Parliament in September 2020. Addressing a gathering, she challenged those accusing her of taking a U-turn to prove their accusations. Badal claimed that she had rushed to Delhi leaving behind her ill parents to plead the farmers' case and warned Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the repercussions of introducing such legislation.
The Bhatinda MP had resigned from the Union Cabinet on September 17, 2020, in protest against the farm laws followed by SAD pulling out of NDA. Moreover, the former Union Minister alleged that the PM's image had taken a beating in India as well as globally. Urging him to directly interact with the agitating farmers, she also reminded the protesting unions that the majority of their demands were yet to be fulfilled by the Centre.
PM's image has taken a beating in India & across the world. I request him to go & listen to agitating farmers as his ministers don't have guts to tell him the truth. Urge farmer orgs to not listen to BJP propoganda that 2/4 demands had been met, as #MSP issue is unresolved. pic.twitter.com/DfdFh8H2YD— Harsimrat Kaur Badal (@HarsimratBadal_) January 2, 2021
Incidentally, a Facebook video dated September 7, 2020, showed that she had vociferously backed the three farm ordinances promulgated by the President. In the aforesaid video, Badal urged Punjab CM Amarinder Singh not to mislead the farmers over the Centre's ordinances on "agricultural reforms". According to her, Singh's demand for the withdrawal of the ordinances was a ploy to "divert attention" from the alleged involvement of his ministers in the seed scam, SC scholarship scam, and the hooch tragedy.
Furthermore, referred to former Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal's assurance to the farmers on the Centre's legislation. She also showed the letter written by Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar to SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal. This letter contained an assurance from Tomar that the Minimum Support Price and government procurement system will continue.
The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020 aims at freeing the farmers from the constraints of the state Agriculture Produce Market Committees whereby they would be able to sell their produce anywhere. Meanwhile, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 protects and empowers farmers to engage with processors, wholesalers, large retailers, exporters for farm services. This entails the provision of contract farming. On the other hand, The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 specifies that the supply of foodstuffs including cereals, pulses, potato, edible oilseeds, and oils shall be regulated only under exceptional circumstances.