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Thursday, May 26, 2022

Punjab polls: Left parties refuse to fight under SSM symbol, CPI (ML) to go it alone

The CPI (ML) Liberation will contest 11 seats under its own party symbol. The CPI too has decided to contest under its own symbol.

Written by Raakhi Jagga | Ludhiana |
January 23, 2022 7:30:34 pm
Interestingly, the SSM had earlier announced Bhagwant Samao as its candidate from Bhadaur seat in Barnala district.

Just after the announcement of 47 candidates for the upcoming Assembly elections, differences of opinion have started emerging between the Left parties and the Sanyukt Samaj Morcha (SSM) which had initially decided to contest the polls together. On Saturday, Communist Party of India (Marxist- Leninist) Liberation announced that it would go it alone and fight under its own party symbol.

Interestingly, the SSM had earlier announced Bhagwant Samao as its candidate from Bhadaur seat in Barnala district. Samao is the president of the Mazdoor Mukti Morcha and state committee member of CPI (ML) Liberation.

In a meeting of the party held in Mansa on Saturday under the leadership of national secretary Deepankar Bhattacharya, it was decided that CPI (ML) Liberation will be contesting 11 seats on its party symbol.

CPI (ML) Liberation state committee member Sukhdarshan Natt told The Indian Express: “Our Kisan wing, All India Kisan Mahasabha, struggled on a joint platform at the Delhi borders against farm laws under the banner of Samyukta Kisan Morcha. However after a political party Sanyukt Samaj Morcha (SSM) was formed in Punjab, it was suggested to SSM office bearers that seat adjustment should be done based on the political parties which will be supporting them… However, SSM told us to contest on their symbol which wasn’t acceptable to us. Hence, this decision was taken. Gurnam Singh Bhikhi is an SSM candidate from Mansa. We will be supporting that candidate and will not be fielding our candidate in his support, but on 11 other seats… we will go alone on our symbol.”

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Rajwinder Singh Rana, state secretary of CPI (ML) Liberation said, “We will be contesting in Maur, Ferozepur Rural, Faridkot Urban, Budhlada, Sardulgarh, Bhadaur, Mehal Kalan, Dirba, Dhuri and Moga on our own.” The SSM has already announced its candidates in many of these seats.

Samao, who is contesting from Bhadaur, said, “SSM has formed three committees for the elections, but in all committees they have placed farmer union leaders only. Thus, difference of opinion is there right from the beginning. Hence it was decided to contest on our symbol only. So now, I will contest from Bhadaur, but on the symbol of CPI (ML) Liberation.”

CPI (ML) Liberation has never won a seat in Punjab barring the victory of Surjan Singh Joga who contested for the Indian People Front, supported by CPI (ML) Liberation, and went on to become an MLA in 1992 from Joga constituency in Mansa.

The Communist Party of India (CPI) too has decided to contest under its own symbol even though six of its candidates figured in the two lists announced by the SSM. These candidates are Krishan Chauhan from Budhlada, Satwant Singh from Lehragaga, Amarjit Singh from Amritsar West, Gurditta Singh from Nihal Singh Wala, Surinder Dandian from Jalalabad and Sukhwinder Singh from Malaut.

Bant Singh Brar, general secretary of CPI Punjab, said: “Earlier SSM was of the view that our candidates should contest on SSM symbol, but after a meeting with us they have agreed now… They had agreed for nine seats for CPI candidates, of which six had already been announced by the SSM. But these CPI candidates will contest on our party symbol. The remaining three seats are Sultanpur Lodhi, Baghapurana and Jagraon which they had agreed to give us. However, on Saturday they announced their own candidate for Sultanpur Lodhi… we are in talks with them… something will be worked out for the remaining three seats.”

The last time Punjab saw CPI candidates winning the Assembly polls was in 2002 when Gurjant Singh Kuttiwal (Bathinda Rural) and Nathu Ram (Malaut) emerged victorious. Both had, however, defected to the Congress after winning.

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