Sunday, Jul 03, 2022

Punjab Elections 2022: Farmer Leader Charuni Floats New Party To Contest Polls, Other Unions Stay Away

As farm leader Gurnam Singh Charuni floats his own political party - Samyukt Sangharsh Party - he slammed political leaders and said they frame policies in 'favour of capitalists, while ignoring the interests of the poor'.

Farm Leader Gurnam Singh Charuni has announced his own political party called Samyukt Sangharsh Party. PTI

Members of Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM)—who have evacuated the protest sites on Delhi's borders since the repeal of the three farm laws by the Centre—are now divided over the question of whether the farmers’ unions should take the plunge into electoral politics of Punjab, or not? Gurnam Singh Charuni, chief of Haryana BKU—one of the members of the 42 unions that made up SKM—has, meanwhile, already laid his cards on the table, by launching his political formation, the Samyukt Sangharsh Party (SSP), which was floated in Chandigarh on Saturday. Charuni said SSP will contest all 117 seats in next year’s Punjab Assembly polls.

At the launch, Charuni told media,"Our objective will be to purify politics and bring forward good people." Slamming political leaders, he said they frame policies in “favour of capitalists, while ignoring the interests of the poor”.

SSP will be a secular party, he said, adding it would work for the welfare of all sections of society. Charuni, who had batted for 'Mission Punjab', has been asking farmer outfits from the state to fight the upcoming elections.

Many farmer unions appear to see Charuni's political aspirations as an ideological clash fueled by conflicting personal and political aspirations. A section of SKM members, including BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan), BKU (Dakonda), BKU (Sidhupur), BKU (Krantikari), Krantikari Kisan Union, Kirti Kisan Manch and afew others have already made it clear that they were never interested in fighting elections and are not about to start now. Having staged a successful protest against a powerful government by fighting on the streets and leading a people-centric movement, they wish to continue their struggle as a key pressure group. Meanwhile, Aam Aadmi Party leaders were also floating the name of BKU (Rajewal) president Balbir Singh Rajewal as party CM face in Punjab, but the claim has been denied by Rajewal.

At a meeting of 25 out of 32 Punjab farmers’ unions (all of which are part of SKM) called by Rajewal on December 16, the majority of farmers unions which attended, held the view that unions should avoid aligning with any political parties. If at all the question of contesting elections arises, unions should throw their hat in the ring by forming their own party and contest the upcoming elections in Punjab. It may take more days for clarity on whether Punjab farmers’ unions will form their political party and fight elections.