22 farmers’ unions launch a political party named ‘Samyukt Samaj Morcha’

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More than 20 farmers’ unions in Punjab formed the Samyukt Samaj Morcha (SSM) on Saturday to contest the 117 seats in the upcoming State Assembly elections.

These unions were previously among 32 that banded together under the banner of Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), which forced the government to repeal the agricultural laws by besieging the national capital.

The buzz is that the newly formed morcha may align themselves with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi party, although this has been denied for now.

The SKM, which had campaigned for farmers’ rights, was an umbrella organization for various groups. The issue of Assembly elections had figured even during the Delhi border turmoil, but the Punjab groups were divided; at least nine out of 32 unions had opposed the move, forcing the SKM to state authoritatively that farmers will not contest Punjab’s elections.

Announcing the formation of the policy forum, Harmeet Singh Kadian, leader of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Kadian) group, said: “When we came back, there was pressure…if we could win this battle over the Farm Bill, we can win the elections. also.”

“Before, it was a morcha or a movement. It was not a political party because people of different ideologies had come together on the same platform to demand the repeal of the agricultural laws… If we had decided to challenge the polls, we would have declared a symbol,” he said.

Peasant leader BS Rajewal, who heads the BKU (Rajewal) group, said: “We have been pressured to fight the polls…we will talk to like-minded people who are pro-Punjab.”

“First of all, we need to strengthen our front at the village level… Aam log (ordinary people) will be part of Samyukt Samaj Morcha,” he said, while downplaying that the new team had a truck with the Aam Admi Party. “There are no negotiations going on…it’s just media speculation,” he said.

The decision of the 22 farmers’ unions to enter electoral politics was questioned by the BKU (Ekta Ugraharan), which is one of the most influential farmers’ unions in Punjab.

“Reacting to the decision of some farmer organizations in Punjab to stand for election, the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) believes that they should focus on fighting for farmers’ demands instead of getting involved in votes and politics,” the group tweeted in Punjabi.

It is possible that other such political fronts of farmers will form in the days to come.

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Published on: Saturday, December 25, 2021, 11:17 PM IST

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