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Samyukta Samaj Morcha press conference
Samyukta Samaj Morcha press conference

Punjab Polls: AAP, Samyukta Samaj Morcha expected to contest elections together but end up fighting against each other

ANI | Updated: Jan 16, 2022 18:06 IST

Chandigarh (Punjab) [India], January 16 (ANI): It was speculated that the Samyukta Samaj Morcha, which was carved out of the farmers' protest movement, and the Aam Aadmi Party would contest the Punjab assembly polls together, but they have ended up fighting against each other.
The differences became more apparent when they could not agree on seat sharing at a "dinner meeting" between Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and SSM president Balbir Singh Rajewal at the former's residence.
Earlier this month, addressing a press conference, Rajewal had said, "Samyukta Samaj Morcha will not form an alliance with the AAP for Punjab Assembly polls."
Till two weeks ago, there were speculations about this political front that emerged from the farmers' movement that they may have an alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party. There was even discussion that Aam Aadmi Party can make Balbir Singh Rajewal as its chief ministerial candidate in Punjab. But now both the parties are openly up against each other.
It was speculated that Aam Aadmi Party can make Balbir Singh Rajewal as its Chief Minister face. However, even after the announcement of the Rajewal faction to contest all 117 seats, the Aam Aadmi Party leaders remained in touch with them. According to the sources, Arvind Kejriwal and Rajewal had a meeting at the Chief Minister's residence on the night of January 1, 2022. Discussions were held on the distribution of seats, however, it could not take a final shape.
This was mentioned by Arvind Kejriwal in his recent Punjab visit. During a press conference in Chandigarh, asked about this, Kejriwal said that by the time Rajewal had come to his residence, the AAP had already announced tickets on 90 seats.
"By the day Rajewal came to my house, we had announced 90 tickets. He demanded 60 tickets. We said that there are 27 tickets left, you may take 10-15 tickets, it is not right to take back the tickets from the ones whom we have already given," Kejriwal said.
"If SSM fights alone, it would divide the votes of the Aam Aadmi Party," he added.
Speaking to ANI over phone, General Secretary of SSM Omkar Singh hit back at Kejriwal and said that SSM has fought for the people of Punjab and AAP is scared of this.
"The people of Punjab know that we are farmers and we have fought for their rights, so they stand with us. Aam Aadmi Party is scared of this fact. We were not contesting elections for seats but for the rights of the people of Punjab," he told ANI.
Notably, AAP leader Raghav Chadha had accused the ECI of making changes in the rules at the behest of BJP to register the SSM.
Speaking to ANI over phone, Chadha said, "Everyone knows that Aam Aadmi Party is going to form government in Punjab, that's why BJP wants to stop us with some excuse or the other. When none of their measures worked, now they want to create trouble for us through this Morcha. As far as registration is concerned in their commission by changing the rules, they just want to divide the vote of the farmers."
Speaking to ANI, Omkar Singh had denied the allegations and said that this has happened in the past as well during the West Bengal Assembly elections.
Both the parties are up against each other in the Punjab Assembly polls. On one side, AAP has announced their candidates on 109 out of 117 seats with Arvind Kejriwal set to announce the chief ministerial candidate next week. SSM has announced its candidates on 10 seats.
Punjab will go to the polls on February 14 and the counting of votes will take place on March 10. (ANI)