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  • Kisan Morcha’s surprise reconciliation: what brought them back together after the split? | Chandigarh News

Kisan Morcha’s surprise reconciliation: what brought them back together after the split? | Chandigarh News

As the 2024 Lok Sabha polls draws close, farm unions of Punjab have started papering over their differences and taking small but sure steps to get back under one common platform of Sanyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM).

In 2020-21, farmers from across the country had come together to protest collectively under the banner of SKM against three contentious farm laws that had been passed by the Parliament. However, after the three farm laws were repealed in November 2021, splits appeared in the farmer unity with several groups breaking away from the SKM due to ideological differences.

Among the prominent farm unions to break ties with the SKM were five unions led by Balbir Singh Rajewal of Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU)-Rajewal, SKM (apolitical), and Kisan Mazdoor Sangrash Committee (KMSC) and their allied unions, who although not an official part of SKM, had been following all their programmes.

According to farm leaders, an informal discussion regarding getting all unions together under SKM’s umbrella had taken place on October 9 in Jalandhar during a prayer meeting organised in memory of Dr MS Swaminathan.

Although, it was decided at the prayer meeting that the unions together would release a common minimum programme (CMP) on October 18 highlighting their demands from the central and the state governments, the same couldn’t take shape and had to be postponed.

Festive offer

“Three committees, comprising five members each, were formed by SKM-Punjab on Wednesday, so as to hold talk with the three splinter groups of farmer unions. One committee will hold talks with office bearers of Kisan Mazdoor Sangrash Committee (KMSC) and their allied unions, with the second committee tasked to hold talks with the five kisan unions as well as BKU Rajewal, all of who are led by Balbir Singh Rajewal. The third committee will talk to SKM apolitical, led by Jagjit Singh Dallewal,” said Jagmohan Singh Patiala, general secretary of BKU-Dakaunda and a member of SKM.

“We have been busy holding close door meetings with various farm unions. Hence, our proposed protests on October 26 against power corporation regarding installation of smart meters have been postponed as of now,” said Dr Darshan Pal, president of Krantikari Kisan Union and a member of the coordination committee of SKM.

Nirbhai Singh Dhudike, president Kirti Kisan Union and member of SKM-Punjab, said that for now a meeting has been scheduled for October 26, during which the three committees will submit their reports after talking with the three splinter groups. “Overall we all feel that the unity of unions is a must,” said Nirbhai Singh Dhudike, president Kirti Kisan Union and member of SKM-Punjab.

On Wednesday, one of the newly-formed SKM committees met with five breakaway farm organisations that are being led by Balbir Singh Rajewal. Later, Rajewal held a seperate meeting with the five unions.

“All our union members are unanimous in their desire of having farmer unity on a common platform,” said Prem Singh Bhangu, president of All India Kisan Federation, of the five groups that attended Wednesday’s meeting.

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Rajewal too, added that all leaders, after Wednesday’s meeting emphasised that their unity is the need of the hour and the same must be based on a common minimum program which is mutually agreed upon. “The issues that we want to highlight through the common minimum program are water disputes, attack on the federal system, environment pollution, debt waiver of farmers and agriculture workers and implementation of Dr Swaminathan’s recommendations,” said Balbir Singh Rajewal, president of BKU Rajewal.

The unions, in an unanimous resolution after their meeting, also strongly condemned the statement of AAP Rajya Sabha MP from Punjab, Sandeep Pathak’s statement regarding sharing of water with Haryana and demanded his resignation.

In another resolution, the unions demanded recruitment of permanent patwaris, supply of DAP fertilisers to farmers, opposed biometric system in the markets, demanded compensation for damaged paddy crops at the time of sowing and recently due to untimely rains, lifting of paddy bags from the markets which are piling up for the last few days and closure of silos in the state, which endangers the market system.

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