Punjab assembly elections: Gurnam Charuni, Balbir Rajewal fail to break deadlock over seat-sharing
With Gurnam Singh Charuni-led Sanyukt Sangharsh Party (SSP) demanding 25 seats in the seat-sharing agreement with Balbir Singh Rajewal’s Sanyukt Samaj Morcha(SSM), and the latter unwilling to part with more than seven seats, the stalemate between the two parties continues ahead of Punjab assembly elections slated for February 14.
Both parties held a series of meetings in Ludhiana on Friday. As per information, Charuni’s party demanded 25 seats, but Rajewal’s side agreed for 13, then went down to nine and finally gave them seven seats, and that too, those which were not the ones SSP was hoping for.
Giving the example of Sardoolgarh, a close aide of Charuni said, “SSM withdrew the seat that was earlier promised to SSP.”
The aide further said, “We formed our party six months ago and since then, have been working hard. Our workers have also spent a lot, so going back is difficult.”
Rajewal has formed a three-member committee to deal with seat-sharing matters. He had formed the SSM last month, taking along 19 of the 32 farm bodies from Punjab who were part of Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella organisation that led the agitation against the now repealed agriculture reform laws.
Rajewal had announced candidates for 10 seats two days ago and is expected to make the announcement for 25-30 more seats on Saturday.
A meeting between Charuni’s group and Rajewal’s committee is fixed for Saturday.
In a video message released earlier, Charuni had threatened to go solo in case a respectable seat-sharing formula is not arrived at for the 117 seats in state.
“We will be left with no option but to contest the polls alone in case a formula suited to both sides is not reached,” said Charuni’s aide.
Differences narrowed, don’t want to split farmers’ votes: SSM
Addressing a press conference in Ludhiana, SSM parliamentary committee member Prem Singh Bhangu said differences between both sides have been narrowed.
Responding to a question regarding Charuni’s displeasure, Bhangu said, “We were together during the farm agitation and don’t want farmers’ votes to be split. Everything is fine and the differences have been narrowed. Soon, both outfits will make a combined announcement.”
The SSM had organised the press conference to announce candidates for six seats of Ludhiana city and others. But the announcement was put off till Sunday, stating that more applications have been received and the SSM wants to go through those.
Bhangu said candidates for six seats of Ludhiana city will be chosen from the group of industrialists, who are part of SSM.
1,273 ticket aspirants have applied: SSM
Bhangu said SSM had set January 14 as the deadline for accepting applications from aspiring candidates and as many as 1,273 applications have been received from the state. He said some Arjuna awardees and Olympians also figure in the list of applicants. The party leaders said all the applications will be thoroughly scrutinised and candidates will be finalised on merit basis.
“SSM will not entertain any application sent after 5pm on January 14. We will also not give tickets to those who leave their party at the eleventh hour, aspiring for a ticket,” said Bhangu.
The SSM leaders further said they will release the manifesto for the upcoming election in 2-3 days. They refuted the allegations leveled by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) that BJP is helping SSM in getting registered with election commission.