Displaying her opposition to the three agriculture-related bills, SAD leader and Union Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal resigned from the union cabinet on Thursday evening.
SAD leader Sukhbir Singh Badal had earlier said that his wife will resign over three farmers bills brought in the parliament by the government. The bills are aimed at replacing ordinances.
Sources in the government said that as politics in Punjab is agriculture dominated and revolves around the agri-economy, SAD was under pressure to take an anti-government stand on the bill. Punjab will go to the polls in about one-and-half-years.
Badal, who was speaking during the debate on two bills - Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 and Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce ( Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, apparently wanted to say on record that Harsimrat Kaur Badal will resign. However, the Chair called the next speaker before he could do so.
Sukhbir Singh Badal had also opposed the Essential Commodities (Amendment) bill.
Harsimrat Kaur Badal said in her tweet that she had resigned "in protest against anti-farmer ordinances and legislation".
A BJP leader said SAD was under pressure to vote against the bill.
"The party has been a long-time ally of BJP in Punjab. We had strained relations at times but never drifted apart," the leader said.
Congress MP Ravneet Bittu, earlier in the day, had challenged Harsimrat Kaur Badal to resign from the ministerial berth if the party was concerned about farmers.
The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 is aimed at developing a national framework for farming agreements to empower farmers through networking with agri- business firms, exporters and retailers.
The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce ( Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 seeks to give farmers choice to sell their produce at competitive prices anywhere.
The Essential Commodities ( Amendment) Bill , 2020, had earlier been passed by the House.
Congress had been in favour of a division and the party had asked its MPs to be present in the House. (ANI)