Resignation Letter of Harsimrat Kaur Badal
Honourable Prime Minister
In view of the decision of the Government of India to go ahead with the Bill on the issue of marketing of agricultural produce without addressing and removing the apprehensions of the farmers and the decision of my party, Shiromani Akali Dal not to be a part of anything that goes against the interests of the farmers, I find it impossible to continue to perform my duties as a minister in the Union Council of Ministers.
Accordingly, I submit my resignation as Minister of Food Processing Industries and request that it may be accepted with immediate effect.
My decision symbolizes my party’s vision, its glorious legacy and its commitment never to compromise on going to any lengths in fighting for and safeguarding the interests of the farmers. I am proud that today,I am able in my humble way to take that legacy forward . Before, during and after the promulgation of the three Ordinances in this connection, I kept trying my very best to persuade the Cabinet to take the actual stake holders of this decision, the farmers, on board and remove their apprehensions and concerns. All this while, I was given the impression that since an Ordinance is only a temporary arrangement, my concerns and pleas would be addressed while legislating on the issue in the Parliament. But I write it with a very heavy heart that despite my persistent pleas as well as repeated efforts of my party - the Shiromani Akali Dal - in this regard, the government has not taken the farmers on board.
Ours is party of which every member is a farmer and from which the farmers have always justifiably had great expectations. The party has always lived up to those expectations and will not flinch from its duty in this regard today or ever. The trust farmers place in us is sacred to us. The SAD has always been inspired and guided by what our great Guru Sahiban have taught us . One of the lessons we have imbibed from their example is that one must never compromise on one’s principles and to always stand up for what one strongly believes in.
I must also express my great satisfaction that every single day as a member of your team, I was able to forcefully articulate the sentiments, the aspirations and the demands of the people who had placed their complete trust in me to represent them and serve them at the highest platform in the country - the parliament. I am grateful that you gave me an opportunity twice to take that task forward. It has indeed been a remarkable and most memorable period of my life as alongside my duties to the people of my country at large, I got an opportunity under your leadership to voice the profound sentiments of the people of my state Punjab , the Sikh community and the farmers in particular.
I will always have this satisfaction that under your leadership, we were able to address and deliver on many critical and long standing issues of the Sikh community. Thanks to the NDA’s commitment to justice for the brave and patriotic Sikh community, the survivors of the thousands of innocent victims of the1984 massacre finally saw a ray of hope and a glimpse of justice. Sajjan Kumar, one of the prime perpetrators of this massacre is behind the bars and law has caught up with scores of others. Prime culprits like Jagdish Tytler , are also feeling the noose of law tightening around their necks.
Similarly, we were able to get the dreaded Black Lists of Sikhs abroad reviewed and abolished. I was able also to do my bit for relief to the hapless Sikhs trapped in Afghanistan as also in some other parts of the world. I am indebted to the Almighty that through you, He enabled me to get the GST on Langar waived. Similarly, the government’s decision to allow foreign donations to the Darbar Sahib under FRCA is a matter of great satisfaction.
The NDA tenures also saw Punjab crossing unprecedented landmarks with projects sanctioned for the state such as AIIMS, Bathinda, IIM, Amritsar, PGIHRE, Amritsar, plus a network of world-class Highways and Super Highways, the International and Domestic Airports at Mohali, Bathinda and Adampur, flights for Darshan at the Holy Takhat at Nanded Sahib – to name just a few.
The most memorable moment for the Sikh community came with the fulfillment of one the most earnest prayers of the Sikhs for the historic opening of Kartarpur Sahib corridor. Every Nanak Nam Leva devotee had been praying in daily Ardas for nearly three quarters of a century for the fulfillment of this sacred dream. I cannot thank you enough on behalf of the Sikh community for going out of your way to bring this historic day in our lives and also for enabling me to play a crucial role in making this dream a reality.
But at the same time , I and my party are deeply pained that we were not able to persuade the government to refer the Bills governing the marketing of the farmers produce to a Select Committee.
Farmers and SAD are synonymous as the party is inspired by the egalitarian vision of the founder of the Sikh faith, Shri Guru Nanak Dev ji who himself spent nearly 20 years of his life working in his fields at Kartarpur Sahib as a humble farmer. This is enough to show what farmers mean to the Shiromani Akali Dal .
Accordingly SAD has decided to oppose the bill brought by the government on the subject. In doing so, my party is merely continuing its age old tradition of being a champion of farmers’ interests
Therefore, I hereby tender my resignation as a member of the Union Council of Ministers.
Lastly I wish to emphasize that my decision is guided by the tradition of my party in always standing up to defend the national interest, be it the fight against the Emergency or for the establishment of a federal structure in the country. This is the great and iconic legacy of our patron-in chief and one of the tallest statesmen in the country, Sardar Parkash Singh Badal. My decision today is a part of that legacy.
I would be failing in my duty if I do not recall how the three-decades old alliance formed by two legendary icons , Sardar Parkash Singh Badal and Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee ji has not only revived the faith of the Sikh masses in justice and fair play , but also served as the most enduring guarantee of peace and communal harmony in Punjab. I am confident that all of us would continue to work together to maintain and sustain the hard earned atmosphere of peace and communal harmony in Punjab.
I will remain forever grateful to you for the trust you reposed in me to work for our great nation under your visionary leadership.
Thanks and high regards.