Punjab polls: Rajewal and Cos. dud poll debut
Sanyukt Samaj Morcha (SSM) proved to be a damp squib in the Punjab assembly polls as it failed to secure a single seat, crashing the party’s hopes to play the role of a game changer in the state politics
Chandigarh: Farmers’ political outfit Sanyukt Samaj Morcha (SSM) proved to be a damp squib in the Punjab assembly polls as it failed to secure a single seat, crashing the party’s hopes to play the role of a game changer in the state politics.
All its candidates trailed way behind other competitors on almost all the 104 constituencies they fielded their candidates.
Balbir Singh Rajewal, who formed the outfit, could muster only 4,626 votes in Samrala constituency with five candidates getting more votes than him, out of the total 15 in the fray.
SSM contested the polls in alliance with Gurnam Singh Chaduni-led Sanyukt Sangharsh Party, giving it ten seats. Its candidates also failed to make an impact.
As perceived during the poll campaign, the number of votes taken by farmers’ candidates could not turn the poll results for the reason that AAP candidates won with thumping margins on almost all the seats.
Rajewal, president of a faction of Bharatiya Kisan union, became a prominent face in the year-long farmers’ agitation against three farm laws passed by the Union government in 2019.
The agitation received support from a cross-section of the society and after repeal of the laws in November last year, Rajewal and leaders of 18 other farm bodies decided to contest the state polls, hoping to play the role of a game changer in the state politics. However, today’s results dashed their hopes.
Before he formed the SSM, Rajewal was offered to join the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and a prominent role in case it forms the government but he turned down the offer and decided to form his own party.
“We failed to inspire the voters and bring together all farm bodies who were part of Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) that led the agitation against the farm laws,” said Prem Singh Bhangu, who contested from Ghanour and could only get 1,679 votes.
At SAS Nagar, SSM candidate Ravneet Brar got 2,971 votes and Paramdeep Singh Baidwan from Kharar got 3,975 votes.
According to Prof. Manjit Singh, a former professor in Panjab University and who supported SSM as a media advisor, AAP kept farm leaders on tenterhooks for long by making different offers, leading to a delay in the decision.
When the poll campaign was at the peak in January, the SSM was riddled with a number of issues. It failed to get its party registered, all its candidates could not get a common poll symbol, at least 14 of its candidates backed out of the contest and its leader Rajewal remained stuck in Samrala constituency and failed to launch a pan-Punjab campaign.
Even the farmer body leaders who stood with Rajewal during the agitation refused to support him in the poll battle, demoralising the Rajewal camp.
Rajewal needs to learn a lesson: Ugrahan
Joginder Singh Ugrahan-led BKU (Ugrahan), which has the largest support base among the farmers in the state, said that the defeat is a lesson for Rajewal and he should review what benefit they reaped in contesting that election.
People honoured them to take part in the agitation and not contest elections, he said.