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'No talks with govt till farm bills are withdrawn': SAD toughens stand, says will be at forefront of protests


CHANDIGARH: The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), the oldest ally of BJP, has now toughened it’s stand on the three farms bill. SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Saturday said that his party will be at the forefront of protests and there will be no talks with the Modi government till bills are taken back.

Badal said, "There can be no talks with the Centre till the bills are taken back. Shiromani Akali Dal is a party of farmers and it will be at the forefront of protests."

Member of Parliament from Bathinda Harsimrat Kaur Badal had resigned from the Union Cabinet on Thursday protesting over the bills. She said that despite her repeated requests, no one paid heed to the concerns of farmers over the bills as she had given a dissenting note. She further said that the farmer's concerns should be addressed first before the ordinances are tabled in the Parliament.

SAD will take a call on whether to remain in the BJP-led NDA after taking into consideration the fate of three contentious farm bills in Rajya Sabha and consulting its cadre, party sources said on Friday.

A senior party leader said the priority of the SAD at the moment was to safeguard the interests of farmers, and not the alliance issue.

The party's core group met this afternoon here with many leaders joining through video conference from Punjab to discuss its next course of action, after Harsimrat Kaur Badal's resignation in protest against the three farm sector bills.

The bills were passed by Lok Sabha this week and likely to be taken up in Rajya Sabha soon.

Meanwhile, 30 farmers outfits call for 'Punjab Bandh' on Sep 25. A decision to this effect was taken by the representatives of the farm bodies at a meeting held here Saturday.

According to the decision, all the business activities, rail-road traffic will be stopped and no buses will be allowed to come out from the bus terminals.

The 'Bandh' call will be from morning till 4 pm in the afternoon.

The meeting also decided to continue farmers' struggle intensely and in this respect farm bodies will meet at Moga on September 23 to decide the next line of action, BKU (Lakhowal) General Secretary Harinder Singh said here.

The meeting also decided to hold protest marches throughout the state and burning effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and copies of three farm ordinances on September 20.

The meeting was attended, among others, by Kisan Sangharsh committee, Jat Kisan Andolan, Punjab Kisan Sabha and BKU Ekta Ugrahan.