New Delhi: The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), the oldest ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), on Saturday pulled out of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) following differences over the recently-passed farm bills. The announcement was made by SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal after holding a core committee meeting of the party.Also Read - Akali Dal Inks Poll Pact With Mayawati's BSP For Punjab Assembly Election 2022

“Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has decided to pull out of BJP-led NDA alliance because of the centre’s stubborn refusal to give statutory legislative guarantees to protect assured marketing of farmers crops on MSP & its continued insensitivity to Punjabi & Sikh issues,” the SAD said in a statement. Also Read - Punjab Municipal Election Results 2021: Congress Wins Big in Urban Body Polls, Returns to Bathinda After 53 Years

The SAD Chief asserted that his party would continue to stand by its core principles of peace, communal harmony and guard the interest of Punjab and Punjabi in general, and Sikhs and farmers in particular. He added that decision has been taken in consultation with the people of Punjab, especially party workers and farmers. Also Read - SAD Chief Sukhbir Badal's Vehicle Attacked in Punjab, 3 Workers Suffer Bullet Injuries | WATCH

Badal said the Bills on agricultural marketing brought by the BJP-led government are lethal and disastrous for the already beleaguered farmers.

The SAD becomes the third major NDA ally to pull out of the grouping after the Shiv Sena and the TDP.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh termed the Shiromani Akali Dal’s decision to quit the NDA as nothing more than a desperate case of political compulsion for the Badals, who were effectively left with no other option after the BJP’s public criticism of SAD over the farm Bills.

Referring to his earlier statement, in which he had pointed out that the NDA would throw the Akalis out if the latter did not leave gracefully, Amarinder Singh said there was no moral high ground involved in SAD’s decision.

“The Akalis had no choice before them since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had already made it clear that it held SAD responsible for failing to convince the farmers about the goodness of the farm Bills,” the Punjab CM said.

Meanwhile, the Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020, await presidential assent.

Thousands of farmers in Punjab, Haryana and several other states have been protesting since the government introduced these Bills in the Lok Sabha on September 14, the opening day of the Monsoon Session of Parliament.

The Bills seek to replace the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020 promulgated on June 5.