Sanyukt Samaj Morcha, a political front launched by various farmers’ organizations to fight the February 14 elections to the Punjab Assembly, released its first list of 10 candidates on Wednesday.
The list includes the names of the face of the SSM, Balbir Singh Rajewal of Samrala, with the exception of other agricultural leaders, lawyers and doctors associated with the kisan aandolan.
Balbir Singh Rajewal, 79
Rajewal, the president of the SSM which was formed by 22 Punjab farmers’ unions on December 25, will run in Samrala constituency in Ludhiana. He is from the village of Rajewal in this constituency. He is also president of BKU (Rajewal), an active agricultural union in Punjab. His union is one of the 22 constituents of SSM. Rajewal is a science graduate and has been interested in farmer issues for over five decades. During a protest against agricultural laws at Delhi’s borders, Rajewal became a great leader of farmers not only in the Punjab but also in India. He continued to participate in the eleven rounds of talks with the Union government. He was also a member of the nine-member Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) committee.
His son, Teji Rajewal, said: “Rajewal is a farmer, he has remained engaged in social works like marrying daughters from poor families. He also worked to provide quality education for children.
Prem Bhangu, 71 years old
A lawyer by profession, Bhangu is the coordinator of the SSM’s legal unit. He is president of the All India Kisan Federation Punjab. Bhangu will run in the Ghanaian constituency of Patiala district. He holds a double master’s degree and a law degree.
Bhangu said, “I remained active as a student leader and joined in the kisan issues in 1992. However, now I am challenging as an SSM member. The campaign will start soon. Bhangu played an important role in the release of those arrested in the violence at the Red Fort.
Harjinder Tanda, 52 years old
Headquarters: Khadoor Sahib
Tanda is chairman of the Azad Kisan Sangrash Committee which has its large base in Tarn Taran and Gurdaspur and now in some districts of Doaba and Malwa as well. This committee is also one of the 22 constituents of SSM.
Tanda said, “I am a matrix pass. I have been a sarpanch in Tanda village three times and currently I am a farmer with a leader of a farmers’ union. I was in contact with farmers’ unions in 2000 as I was previously on the Kisan Sangrash committee and in 2014 a group of us formed the Azad Kisan Sangrash committee. Our committee has remained active throughout the struggle of the farmers.
Ravneet Brar, 35
Brar holds an MBA and spokesperson for BKU (Qadian). This union is also constitutive of the SSM. Brar said: “Throughout Kisan Aandolan we have kept in touch with the people and now also we will try to be the voice of the people.”
Dr Sukhmandeep Singh Dhillon, 25
Headquarters: Tarn Taran
He is a young MBBS doctor whose internship continues. Dhillon was a member of Dr Swaimaan Singh’s medical team at the Tikri border who served the farmers throughout the year. He belongs to the Sursingh village of Tarn Taran and his family members have also participated in the farmers’ struggles, members of Dr Swaimaan Singh’s team said. Dr Sukhmandeep said: “My great-grandfather was sentenced to Kala Pani prison in British India and my grandfather and his two brothers were part of Jaiton Morcha. My father retired from the Indian Air Force. So somehow the revolution is in my blood. I did my MBBS in Ukareine and was halfway through my MD in USA when Kisan aandolan started. My graduate plans were postponed and even I took an internship extension from now on.
Kumar is a candidate from the reserved seat Kartarpur. He is in his mid-forties and remained a member of the Doaba Kisan Sangrash committee. Kumar remained at Delhi’s borders for most of the struggle.
Dr Ramandeep Singh
He is a doctor and will participate in the reserved seat of Jaiton in the district of Faridkot. Dr Singh was also part of the medical team at the Tikri border for the whole year. He’s in his mid-thirties.
He is a lawyer by profession who is in his mid-thirties. He was an active leader of Naujawan Bharat Sabha and remained active throughout the farmers’ morcha in Delhi, said Bhogh Singh Mansa, treasurer of SSM.
Balraj Singh Thakur
Thakur is a union leader of the Majha Kisan Sangrash committee. “Throughout the morcha, his carts remained parked at the Delhi borders. He is linked to the farmers in the region and, therefore, he received a ticket from there, ”added Bhogh Singh.
Navdeep Sangha (41)
Sangha, according to sources, was also part of Congress and SAD before joining the AAP in 2017. He resigned as a senior member of the AAP on Wednesday. He is also a liquor entrepreneur in addition to being a film producer.