Row over RSS links, factionalism in SKM: Rift emerges between 2 farmers' leaders
Home INDIA Row over RSS links, factionalism in SKM: Rift emerges between 2 farmers’ leaders
INDIA - December 17, 2021

Row over RSS links, factionalism in SKM: Rift emerges between 2 farmers’ leaders

All 32 unions comprising the Samyukt Kisan Morcha are expected to meet in Mullanpur in Ludhiana (Punjab) on Saturday,The Tribune reported. The meeting was called to “resolve all issues and take a joint decision on the political foray of the kisan unions,” Prem Singh Bhangu, president of the All-India Kisan Sabha, was quoted as saying by The Tribune.

The SKM was formed in November last year as an umbrella group to coordinate the farmers’ protests against the three controversial farm laws, that were repealed last month.

News of the meeting came after factions of the SKM held separate meetings on Thursday even as leaders of two major unions engaged in a war of words.

Balbir Singh Rajewal is head of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Rajewal) that has support across Punjab, while Jagjit Singh Dallewal is Punjab unit chief of the BKU Ekta Sidhupur, that is popular in the Malwa region. Rajewal had alleged Dallewal had links with the RSS.

“What to talk about Dallewal, he is associated with RSS. Apart from SKM, he is vice-president of Kisan Mahasangh,” Rajewal was quoted as saying on Wednesday by The Times of India. Rajewal appeared to be alluding to comments by Dallewal that the SKM had received funds from overseas.

Dallewal hit back at Rajewal. He told The Times of India, “I am surprised why a senior leader of such a big stature is saying irresponsible things. Rajewal has called me as RSS man due to my association with Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh whereas Rajewal himself is one of the founder members of the mahasangh, floated nearly a decade ago for farming issues… If I am with RSS due to being a member of the mahasangh, which is an association of 182 farm groups and has no president or vice-president, then Rajewal is also linked with RSS.”

Dallewal alleged Rajewal was in favour of a “half-baked agreement” with the Centre on ending the farmers protests, which he had opposed.

On Thursday, Rajewal called a meeting of 25 of the constituent unions of the SKM at Samrala in Ludhiana. The Tribune reported that at this meeting, the unions were not in favour of supporting political parties in the coming Punjab assembly polls and were in favour of contesting the polls themselves.

Seven other SKM constituents attended a separate meeting called by Dallewal. Dallewal told The Tribune the meeting ”was not called to discuss the political scenario in the state or to extend political support, but only to chalk out the plan for their march to Harmandar Sahib in Amritsar on Friday, to pay their obeisance”.

The Tribune reported farmers’ leaders are attempting to soothe “frayed nerves” between Dallewal and Rajewal and “ensure the SKM does not split”.

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