"Farmers' trust in Shiromani Akali Dal is sacred to us and we are proud to preserve the glorious legacy of fight for farmers," Harsimrat Kaur Badal said.
President of India Ram Nath Kovind accepted her resignation with immediate effect and also directed that Narendra Singh Tomar be assigned the charge of the Ministry of Food Processing Industries.
Badal's resignation from the Cabinet points to a firm stand taken by her party, Shiromani Akali Dal, against a decision taken by its ally BJP.
Her resignation was in protest against three ordinances — The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020; The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement; and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 — promulgated by the NDA government.
These ordinances, which farmers say are "anti-farmer", aim to provide a barrier-free trade for farmers' produce outside notified farm mandis and to empower farmers into farming agreements with private players prior to production for sale of agri-produce.
The ordinances seek to bring in private players in agriculture and promote hurdle-free sale of produce, but the farmers argue that they will bring about corporate dominance.
The Akalis, who initially supported the newly proposed bills, took a U-turn late this week after increasing farmers' resentment.
Akali Dal president Sukhbir Badal claimed that the party was never consulted on the ordinances, and that Harsimrat had informed the government about farmers' reservations and resistance.
Farmers in Haryana and Punjab have been agitating and carrying out mass demonstrations against the Bills, and the party has decided to vote against the Bills.
Farmers also form the backbone of the Akali Dal vote-bank in Punjab. Recently, Sukhbir Badal said, "Every Akali is a farmer, and every farmer is an Akali."
The bills which the BJP claims will bring reform in the agri-sector have caused massive outrage among the farmers of Punjab and Haryana. The government says that the bills will help farmers get a better market and price for their produce across the country.
Farmers are afraid that they will not be paid at Minimum Support Price, while commission agents fear that they will lose their commission.
According to a Punjab Agricultural University study, there are more than 12 lakh farming families in Punjab and 28,000 registered commission agents.