Former Punjab chief minister and Shiromani Akali Dal leader Parkash Singh Badal on Thursday returned Padma Vibhushan, India's second-highest civilian award, to lodge his protest against farm laws.
In his letter to President Ram Nath Kovind, Badal said that he has taken this step in accordance to the "manner in which the government is dealing with the farmers".
"I am who I am because of the people, especially the common farmer. Today when he has lost more than his honour, I see no point in holding on to the Padma Vibhushan honour," the Shiromani Akali Dal leader wrote.
Earlier in September, the Shiromani Akali Dal pulled out of the BJP-led NDA over the passage of farm bills. SAD leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal had even resigned as the minister of food processing industries from the Union Cabinet to protest against the farm laws.
The SAD and the BJP had been allies since 1996 when both forged a pre-poll alliance which brought them to power.
Meanwhile, farmers' groups on Thursday met three Union ministers for fourth round of talks amid an ongoing protest seeking repeal of the new farm laws. Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Railways, Commerce and Food Minister Piyush Goyal and Minister of State for Commerce Som Parkash, who is an MP from Punjab, are holding talks with the representatives of 35 farmers' unions at the Vigyan Bhawan in Delhi.