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Don’t sign farm bills, Sukhbir Badal urges President

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MP Sukhbir Singh Badal speaks in the Lok Sabha during the ongoing Monsoon Session of Parliament, amid the coronavirus pandemic, in New Delhi, on Sept. 17, 2020.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Shiromani Akal Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal on Sunday urged the President not to give his assent to the farm bills passed by Rajya Sabha, asking him to return them to Parliament for reconsideration.

Mr. Badal said the passage of the bills marked a sad day for democracy and millions in the country.

Democracy means consensus, not majority oppression, the SAD leader said in a statement shortly after Rajya Sabha passed two of the three bills.

In a rarely exercised provision, the Constitution gives the President the power to withhold assent to certain categories of bills passed by Parliament.

Please stand by the farmers, ‘kisan mazdoors’, ‘arhtiyas’, mandi labour and Dalits, Mr. Badal urged President Ram Nath Kovind.

Please intervene on their behalf with the government. Otherwise they will never forgive us, he said in the statement.

Explainer | Why are the Agriculture Bills being opposed

Don’t let the ‘annadata’ (farmers) starve or sleep on the roads, he added.

Amid an uproar by the opposition, Rajya Sabha on Sunday passed the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020.

They were passed by Lok Sabha on Thursday. A third bill is yet to be passed in Rajya Sabha.

Akali Dal MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal had resigned from the Union cabinet in protest against the three bills, but the party remains with the ruling National Democratic Alliance.

Farmers in Punjab have been protesting against the three bills.

Their organisations have expressed apprehension that the bills would lead to dismantling of the minimum support price (MSP) system, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.

The protests have continued despite assurances from the Centre that the system would stay.

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Printable version | Mar 8, 2021 12:44:51 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/dont-sign-farm-bills-sukhbir-badal-urges-president/article32653382.ece

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