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Monday, January 17, 2022

Punjab Polls: Rajewal rules out alliance with AAP, explores poll pact with Chaduni

🔴 Both outfits -- Gurnam Singh Chaduni’s Samyukt Sangharsh Party (SSP) and Balbir Singh Rajewal’s Samyukta Samaj Morcha (SSM) -- had earlier announced that they will separately contest all 117 seats of Punjab Assembly.

Written by Sukhbir Siwach , Kanchan Vasdev | Chandigarh |
Updated: January 10, 2022 7:15:34 am
Gurnam Singh Chaduni

The two political outfits formed by farmer leaders to contest the forthcoming Punjab Assembly elections Sunday initiated talks for entering a pre-poll alliance.

The decision of both entities – Gurnam Singh Chaduni’s Samyukt Sangharsh Party (SSP) and Balbir Singh Rajewal’s Samyukta Samaj Morcha (SSM) – exploring a poll pact came as Rajewal categorically ruled out an alliance with AAP. On whether the SSM would seal the tie-up with Chaduni’s outfit, Rajewal said, “Time will tell.”

Chaduni too said that it was too early to say how alliance talks between the two sides play out.
Talking to The Indian Express, he said: “Both parties had plans to announce their candidates for the Punjab polls Sunday. But in a meeting held in Chandigarh, we reached a consensus to put the list of candidates on hold for the time being. We will see whether any progress takes place for a possible alliance in the coming days. As of now, we can’t say how things will take shape in the future.”
Chaduni has been stating all along that he will try to bring all farm outfits on one platform for the upcoming polls.

He said: “It would be good if we contest the elections together. I have been insisting on this since the beginning, but I did not get the desired response (from other factions) earlier. It’s not good if both factions contest the elections separately.”

Rajewal, meanwhile, revealed that SSM had constituted three committees, including scrutiny committee, manifesto committee and parliamentary committee for contesting elections.

He said that the morcha might announce first list of candidates within a day or two, adding that they will have candidates from all sections of the society.

The announcement that SSM would not go with AAP has come as a relief to rival parties as the tie up could have ended up as a strong front in the state. Several quarters were even seeing Rajewal as the potential candidate for CM’s post of the alliance.

It was being reported that the AAP was offering only 10 seats to morcha, while it wanted at least 60 seats. Rajewal, however, denied these reports.

All eyes are now talks between the SSM and the SSP.

It is being believed that if both factions join hands, then the alliance may emerge as a formidable force in Punjab with the farmer outfits having units at village level apart from an army of volunteers and dedicated supporters.

Political experts say the united fight by farmer outfits might dent the vote bank of mainstream political parties in Punjab especially when the state is heading for a multi-cornered contest where even a small swing in vote share can make a huge difference.

As many as 22 Punjab farmer organisations had floated their own political front, Samyukta Samaj Morcha two weeks back, and declared Bhartiya Kisan Union (Rajewal) president Balbir Singh Rajewal (78) as the face of their front.

Nearly a week before it, Bhartiya Kisan Union (Chaduni) president Gurnam Singh Chaduni, who has been suggesting that farmer and majdoor leaders join politics, had launched his political outfit, Samyukt Sangharsh Party.

Then, Chaduni had stated: “Those who indulged in wrong practices have entered into the politics and need to be thrown out. There are as many as 80 lakh voters from farming communities in Punjab while the government was formed by just 59 lakh votes. Further, as many as 80 lakh voters are from majdoors too. Then, how the capitalists and dalals of corporates are ruling the state?”

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