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Farmers to Contest Punjab Elections Collectively, No Agreement with AAP

No alliance with Aam Aadmi Party, but Sanyukt Samaj Morcha (SSM) will be closing ranks with all other farmer unions and Gurnam Singh Charuni-led Sanyukt Sangharsh Party to flex their political muscle in all 117 Assembly constituencies.

Ayushi Raina
Farmers to Contest Punjab Elections Collectively
Farmers to Contest Punjab Elections Collectively

Elections 2022: There would be no alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), but the Sanyukt Samaj Morcha (SSM) will be closing ranks with all other farmer unions and Gurnam Singh Charuni-led Sanyukt Sangharsh Party to flex their political muscle in all 117 Assembly constituencies for the February 14 elections. 

The SSM's seven-member screening committee, led by Harmeet Singh Kadian, has held meetings several times, the most recent of which was in Chandigarh. By Wednesday, the first list of applicants will be announced. 

Balbir Singh Rajewal, SSM's prime face for collecting votes, told that after talks of an alliance with AAP failed through, and in accordance with public desires for a common front of farmers, he was now in talks with Charuni to put on a joint show. "He is a member of our group. All farmers will run together at the polls. Even unions that have decided not to join SSM would support their brethren who throw their hat in the ring," Rajewal stated. 

The SSM had previously in negotiations with AAP about forming an alliance, and it was initially agreed that AAP would reserve 30-35 seats for them. However, there were serious disagreements within the SSM over forming an electoral alliance with the AAP and at least nine of the 22 constituent farmer unions of SSM had opposed it. 

Rajewal, on the other hand, stated that they decided not to proceed with the alliance since AAP has proven to be exactly like other established parties. "I have audio recordings of party leaders seeking money to grant candidates tickets.  I discussed this with AAP top brass, and since they refused to listen, I chose not to vote for them," he stated. 

When asked if the SSM will only accept farmers as candidates, Rajewal turned it down. "Over the last ten days, we have held multiple rounds of discussions with industrialists, traders, civil rights activists, intellectuals, and Bahujan Samaj Party breakaway leaders. Our candidates will be from all sections of society,” he said. 

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