indianarrative

Farmers’ unity breaks as two factions jump into Punjab poll fray

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Sanyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), the umbrella organisation of the farmers, in its general house meeting on Saturday attended by Rakesh Takait, Joginder Singh Ugrahan, Jagjeet Singh Dallewal, Yoginder Yadav and Yudhveer Singh has decided to expel the Rajewal-led Sanyukt Samaj Morcha and Gurnam Singh Chaduni led Sanyukt Sangharsh Party from the main fold. The decision has been taken as the two groups decided to contest the elections.

A wide rift has surfaced among the farmers’ groups that unitedly spearheaded the year-long agitation against the three controversial farm laws. Two factions have been expelled from the main umbrella group because they have decided to participate in the Punjab assembly polls although it had been decided the farmers’ front would remain apolitical.

Sanyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), the umbrella organisation of the farmers, in its general house meeting on Saturday attended by Rakesh Takait, Joginder Singh Ugrahan, Jagjeet Singh Dallewal, Yoginder Yadav and Yudhveer Singh has decided to expel the Rajewal-led Sanyukt Samaj Morcha and Gurnam Singh Chaduni led Sanyukt Sangharsh Party from the main fold. The decision has been taken as the two groups decided to contest the elections.

However, the SKM also said that it would review the situation after three months while renewing the appeal to the two leaders not to jump into political foray.

Rajewal and Chaduni had violated the SKM diktat against contesting elections or supporting any political party as the farmers had projected their movement to be apolitical. Rajewal's outfit constitutes of 22 farmers' organisations out of 32 which participated in the year-long agitation.

Chaduni hails from Haryana and a big clout among the farming community. He was the first to propagate that  farmer organisations should fight elections so that they can frame laws of their choice after forming the government.

The critics of the farm movement have since the beginning of the farmers' agitation been alleging that the farmer leaders are politically motivated and want to grab power that is why they were not agreeing on various compromise formulas. With Rajewal and Chaduni deciding to contest Punjab elections, the critics seem to have been proved right.

The major support base of the agitation was from Punjab and Hayana but with the two big leaders having been expelled from SKM the future course of the farmers' movement to get their pending demands accepted has now come under a cloud. The Centre is yet to form a committee to decide on the minimum support price (MSP) imbroglio. The cases registered against the farmers also have not been withdrawn though SKM is pressing for it. Compensation for the families of those who lost their lives has not been paid. Lakhimpur incident too needs to be attended as per wishes of the SKM.

Analysts say the split in farmer organisations will reduce their ability to exert pressure on the government.