Farmer leader and Sanyukt Samaj Morcha chief Balbir Singh Rajewal has alleged that Aam Aadmi Party convenor Arvind Kejriwal tried to defame him by circulating his name as the AAP’s chief ministerial candidate in Punjab, PTI reported on Monday.

Rajewal said that he had asked Kejriwal to stop doing so.

“His strategy was to defame me by circulating my name as the CM face,” the Sanyukt Samaj Morcha chief said. “I never said that I want to be the CM or hold talks with them.”

On January 18, the Aam Aadmi Party announced that state party chief Bhagwat Mann will be its chief ministerial candidate for the Punjab Assembly election.

The Sanyukt Samaj Morcha is a political front of a group of farmers’ organisations that participated in the protests against the three contentious farm laws, which have now been repealed.

Rajewal also defended his organisation’s decision to field Lakha Sidhana, an accused person in last year’s Republic Day violence, as a candidate from Maur constituency in the Bathinda district. He said that farmer leaders did not like Sidhana for his involvement in the protests in Delhi, as he often spoke against them. Rajewal, however, said that Sidhana has “promised to mend his ways”.

The farmer leader said that Sidhana was the “people’s choice” and that the outfit named him as a candidate after due consideration.

Rajewal also spoke about the alleged delay in the allotment of a symbol to his party from the Election Commission, and said that it may be a conspiracy by the Bharatiya Janata Party or the AAP. He claimed that the commission did not respond in “yes” or “no” in response to his application for the allotment of a symbol, due to which the outfit could not approach court.

The 117 seats of the Punjab Assembly will go to polls in a single phase on February 20. The results will be announced on March 10. The state will see a multi-cornered fight as the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies, the Aam Aadmi Party and the Akalis are in the fray.