CHANDIGARH: Dissident Akali leader Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa on Sunday said the Shiromani Akali Dal snapped ties with the NDA 'out of compulsion' as farmers were angry with it over the farm bllls.
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) had on Saturday quit the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) over the farm bills issue, the third major party to walk out of the BJP-led coalition in the last couple of years.
"They (SAD) have done it out of compulsion as farmers are upset with them," Dhindsa, a Rajya Sabha member, said.
He said the Akali Dal initially supported the bills with even party stalwart Parkash Singh Badal speaking in the favour.
"They then took a U-turn, saying it is not in the interest of farmers. Were these bills not bad for farmers earlier?" the dissident Akali leader said.
"They have lost support at the ground level in the state," he alleged.
Dhindsa, who had formed the SAD (Democratic) party, said his political outfit has been supporting farmers from the beginning over the issue.
"From the day one, we have been supporting farmers and standing with them. Our party wants the issue to be resolved at the earliest," he told PTI.
Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, along with his son and former state finance minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa, was expelled from the SAD in February this year over 'anti-party' activities.
SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal had announced the decision to snap ties with the NDA, amid stepped up agitation by farmers in Punjab over the three legislations which were recently passed by Parliament amid opposition protests.
Badal's wife and SAD leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal had on September 17 quit the Union Cabinet after he strongly opposed the bills in Lok Sabha, claiming these legislations will "destroy" the agriculture sector in Punjab.
Parliament had recently passed the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill; Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill; and Farmers' (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill.
These are yet to get the assent of the president.