On Thursday, SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal opined that his father Parkash Singh Badal returned the Padma Vibhushan to send a "strong message" to the Centre. Maintaining that the former CM fought for farmers throughout his entire life, he slammed the Union government for "forcing" the agrarian reform laws on them. Badal lamented that BJP was attributing a pro-Khalistan agenda to the ongoing farmers' protests.
According to him, the farmers were being insulted by being called "anti-national". Stepping up his attack on BJP, the SAD president alleged that the people who are calling them "anti-national" are the ones working against the interests of the country. His party quit NDA in protest against the passage of The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020.
Parkash Singh Badal (former Punjab CM) fought for farmers for his entire life. He returned his award to send a strong message to the government. Farmers don't need these laws so why the Govt of India is forcing them on farmers?: Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Badal to ANI https://t.co/b3kieAhllF pic.twitter.com/cyhrsfHnbw— ANI (@ANI) December 3, 2020
Does BJP or anybody else have the right to declare anybody as anti-national? These people (farmers) have dedicated their entire life to the nation & now you are calling them anti-national. People who are calling them anti-nationals are actually anti-nationals: Sukhbir Badal https://t.co/Fz3ZYwxemA— ANI (@ANI) December 3, 2020
In his letter to President Ram Nath Kovind, Parkash Singh Badal expressed shock at the contempt in which the Centre is treating the protests against the farm laws. Accusing the government of going back on its assurance given to SAD, he termed it as the "most embarrassing moment" in his long political career. Moreover, he lamented that the farmers have been forced to wage a bitter struggle for the fundamental right to live despite their crucial role in turning India into a food exporting country.
The former Chief Minister alleged that SAD was "mocked" for seeking debt relief for farmers at a juncture when corporate loans are waived off. Badal stressed that he saw no point in holding on to the Padma award as the farmer has lost more than his honour. Maintaining that India owes a huge debt to its farmers, he urged the President to win the confidence of the farmers and strengthen the secular democratic fabric of the nation. The thousands of protesting farmers have raised concerns about the future of the APMC and MSP. Currently, the fourth round of talks between the Centre and the farmer unions is underway at the Vigyan Bhawan in the national capital.