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Opinion

Former Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal returns Padma Vibhushan in protest against agricultural laws

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In the latest development on the ongoing protests against the farm law, Patriarch Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and former Punjab chief minister for five terms, Parkash Singh Badal, returned the Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award in the country, on Thursday. country, which was awarded to him in 2015.

In a statement, Badal described the laws as “betrayal of farmers” by the Indian government. In September, the month these laws were passed, Badal’s then central minister and daughter-in-law, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, who was the only SAD representative in the central government, had resigned from his post in protest against the laws. Days later, the SAD also formally announced that it was no longer part of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Read also | SAD-NDA: Farm Bill was the last nail in the coffin. Here’s a look at other reasons to split

The SAD was the oldest ally of the BJP, and the ties of the two parties spanned more than two decades.

In recent days, several Punjabi athletes have also threatened to return their prizes if the farmers’ demands are not met. Although farmers have been protesting against the laws since September, including the blockade of rail tracks in Punjab, last week they began marching towards the national capital and have been camping on its outskirts for eight days. They have threatened to blockade Delhi “on all sides” if the laws are not repealed.

So far, three rounds of talks have been held between farmers’ unions and the government, including the last one on Tuesday. The fourth round of talks is scheduled for Thursday.

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