SAD to boycott President's address to joint sitting of parliament to protest farm laws

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Chandigarh, Jan 28 (PTI) The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Thursday said it will boycott the President's address to joint session of parliament to protest the 'adamant manner' in which the Centre was 'bent' on implementing the three farm laws.

This came on a day 16 Opposition parties led by the Congress, NCP, Shiv Sena and the TMC decided to boycott the president's address in solidarity with the farmers protesting the new farm laws. Besides, the AAP too has decided to not attend the address.

The budget session of Parliament will begin with the address of President Ram Nath Kovind to the joint sitting of the two Houses on Friday morning.

In a joint statement here, SAD party leaders Balwinder Singh Bhundur, Naresh Gujral and Prem Singh Chandumajra said, 'The SAD is a party of farmers. We have always stood up for the cause of the farming community.' 'In the present situation, when the Centre is unmoved by the suffering of the community which has been agitating for months against the agri acts, we feel there is no responsibility on our part to attend the President's address. The party will boycott the address to protest the adamant manner in which the Centre is bent on implementing the three farm laws,' they said.

SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal and his wife former union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal are Lok Sabha MPs while Bhundur and Gujral are Rajya Sabha members.

Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, a Rajya Sabha member, had parted ways with the SAD and had floated his own party SAD (Democratic).

The SAD leaders dubbed the farm laws as the 'biggest present day danger'.

They said, 'The tallest leaders of the region, be it Choudhary Chhotu Ram, Choudhary Charan Singh or Parkash Singh Badal, have always stood for the cause of the peasantry.' The leaders asserted the SAD would not only continue to support the 'Kisan Andolan' but also strive to ensure it was victorious.

Chandumajra said the SAD and its president Sukhbir Singh Badal had been in contact with senior leaders of like-minded regional parties.

'We have reached out to the Trinamool Congress, DMK and the Shiv Sena, besides others. We all feel that the agri laws which were bulldozed through parliament in the last session are not only unconstitutional but also anti-people.

'We also feel that the central government is encroaching upon the powers of the states by legislating on an issue which was a State subject,' he said.

Bhundur and Gujral said that the Centre should not spoil the peaceful atmosphere by resorting to “high handedness to suppress” the farm agitation.

They said instead of doing this, the central government should resume talks with the farmer organizations and break the current deadlock.

A day before the start of the Budget Session of Parliament, 16 Opposition parties led by the Congress, NCP, Shiv Sena and the TMC on Thursday decided to boycott the president's address to the joint sitting of both the Houses in solidarity with the farmers protesting the new farm laws.

The parties that will boycott the president's address on Friday are the Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, National Conference, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Trinamool Congress, Shiv Sena, Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Communist Party of India (Marxist), CPI, Indian Union Muslim League, RSP, Peoples Democratic Party, MDMK, Kerala Congress (M) and the All India United Democratic Front.

These opposition parties have demanded an independent probe into the Centre's role in the violence that shook the national capital during the farmers'' tractor parade on Republic Day.

They also demanded the repeal of the three farm laws and criticised the central government for remaining unresponsive to the demands of lakhs of farmers protesting against the agri laws. PTI CHS VSD NSD NSD