September 16, 2021 6:32:21 am
At a time when political parties in Punjab are in a spot, trying to launch their political campaigns for the 2022 elections amid vociferous protests by farmers, Sanjha Sunehra Punjab Manch (SSPM) is going all out to have talks with stakeholders and “find solutions to problems plaguing Punjab”.
SSPM, which was floated as a platform to discuss critical issues impinging on the lives and livelihoods of all Punjabis, is spearheaded by former diplomat KC Singh. On Tuesday, Singh was all praise for farm leaders Joginder Singh Ugrahan and Balbir Singh Rajewal for “stating that people have a right to question”. But “in democracy”, the public outreach program should not be disrupted.
“SSPM is engaging with smaller groups of people, unlike the political parties, who use money power to gather crowds to the tune of 50000 or so. These political parties talk at the gathering and not with them. SSPM talks with the stakeholders to finds solutions for Punjab problems and it would continue to do so no matter which government is formed in the state,” said Singh.
Soon after its formal launch on August 25 in Chandigarh, the SSPM came under scrutiny with allegations of it “not being an apolitical front”. Three founding members of the Manch, namely SSPM secretary, Col LJS Gill (retd), Professor Ronki Ram, and DPS Gill, in a “letter of exit” announced their “collective departure” from the forum alleging that it “is a captive platform for the furtherance of the vested interests of a few individuals”.
However, KC Singh on Tuesday told The Indian Express, “You may call it a [SSPM] pressure group, think tank or non-profit organization. This Manch will never convert into a political party. Today, I am the convener, tomorrow any other individual can become its convenor. Our approach is issues based.”
The SSPM has had meetings with Baba Sewa Singh of Khadoor Sahib, environmentalist Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal, and representatives of industry and others in Ludhiana after the formation of the platform.
On September 18 and 19, similar events with area-wise stakeholders, are scheduled to be held in Bathinda and Mansa.
The SSPM, according to Singh — who served as Indian Ambassador to Iran and UAE during his service period — was creating “area-specific WhatsApp groups” to have deliberations on issues Punjab was facing.
“We have launched a missed call initiative in which around 1500 persons have already associated with the SSPM,” said Singh, adding that SSPM was focused on having dialogues with representatives who can point out problem areas and give suggestions.
KC Singh was critical for all major political parties active in Punjab as he said, “In Congress it was [Navjot Singh] Sidhu versus Captain [Amarinder Singh], AAP was clueless [in finding a CM face] and SAD was a party run by one family [the Badals]. Political parties are resorting to jumlas only. They are not talking about the real issues.”
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