The decision to contest elections in Punjab was taken as people wanted us to clear the “filth” created by political parties, a key member of farmer group which is contesting the assembly elections told NDTV. Samyukta Samaj Morcha Chief Balbir Singh Rajewal, while ruling out an alliance with Aam Aadmi Party, was also critical of the Arvind Kejriwal party’s chief ministerial choice, Bhagwant Mann.
“We are here to save Punjab, to improve the system. The situation in Punjab is getting worse. Children here have lost hope. They are migrating in large numbers due to unemployment. There are no jobs. This will increase the crime rate,” Mr Rajewal said.
The 80-year-old farmer leader said that he was “pressured by the people” to contest polls as they have lost hope from the traditional parties.
“Politicians in the state are not doing anything. There is administrative corruption. Politicians have digressed from a traditional motive of service to the people. The Aam Aadmi (common man) is facing difficulty,” Mr Rajewal, who claims to be one of the founders of the farmer movement, said.
The Samyukta Samaj Morcha, Mr Rajewal said, will contest all the 117 assembly seats in the state.
Asked about a possible alliance with AAP, which has emerged as a strong player in the state, Mr Rajewal only said, “I want people who can save Punjab. People are with us. This is a mistaken belief that this movement will die down”.
He, however, targeted the Arvind Kejriwal party’s for choosing Bhagwant Mann as its chief ministerial candidate. “Everyone knows about the chief ministerial choice face of the Aam Aadmi Party. Who doesn’t know he can’t live without alcohol,” he said.
Forty-eight-year-old Bhagwant Mann was declared as the chief ministerial face of the AAP on January 18 by party’s national convenor Arvind Kejriwal. The announcement was made after the results of the party’s ‘Janta Chunegi Apna CM’ drive were declared.
A comedian-turned-politician, Mr Mann is a two-time Lok Sabha MP from the Sangrur parliamentary constituency.
AAP’s most prominent face in Punjab, Bhagwant Mann has often been targeted by the opposition for his “drinking” habit.
Following constant potshots, the AAP leader had publicly resolved not to touch alcohol ever at a rally in 2019.
Polling for the assembly polls in Punjab is scheduled to be held on February 20 and the counting of votes will take place on March 10.