Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday issued a sharp rejoinder for opposition Akali Dal after its sole Union Minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, resigned. "Too little too late" and a "gimmick" was how he phrased it, pointing out that the party has not parted company with the BJP, the architect of the controversial farm sector bills.
Amid pressure on Akali Dal over the bills of its ally, Harsimrat Kaur quit her post in PM Modi's cabinet shortly before the voting in Lok Sabha. In a tweet, she later said she was "Proud to stand with farmers as their daughter & sister".
Sukhbir Badal -- her husband and the chief of Akali Dal, the oldest ally of the BJP -- said the party will provide outside support to the government.
"Harsimrat Kaur's decision to quit Union Cabinet is another in the long chain of theatrics being enacted by @Akali_Dal which has still not quit ruling coalition. It's motivated not by any concern for farmers but to save their own dwindling political fortunes. Too little too late," Chief Minister Amarinder Singh tweeted.
Harsimrat Kaur's decision to quit Union Cabinet is another in the long chain of theatrics being enacted by @Akali_Dal_ which has still not quit ruling coalition. It's motivated not by any concern for farmers but to save their own dwindling political fortunes. Too little too late.— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) September 17, 2020
"But they (the Akalis) will not succeed in misleading the farmer organisations," he said.
Harsimrat Kaur's resignation from the Union Cabinet has come too late to be of any help to Punjab and its farmers, the Chief Minister said.
Had the Akalis taken a stand earlier and supported his government against the ordinances, the Centre might have carefully considered the issue before introducing the ordinances and pushing the bills in parliament, Mr Singh said.
Calling the BJP bills "anti-farmer", the farmers of Punjab have been holding huge protests across the state. They are demanding that all the bills be withdrawn. Several farmers' groups have also warned that they would not allow any MP who voted for the bills to go to villages.
On Wednesday, Mr Singh had met the Governor, asking him to intervene with the Centre regarding the bills. The BJP claims the bills are part of the agri-sector reforms and will help farmers get better market and price for their produce.