The Sanyukt Samaj Morcha, a political front formed by several farmer bodies, failed to win any seat in the Punjab Assembly elections, data from the Election Commission showed. As many as 93 of the 94 its candidates lost their security deposits, according to The Indian Express.
The party was formed by 22 out of 32 farmers’ unions that had taken part in the year-long agitation against the Narendra Modi government’s now-repealed farm laws. The farmers, who staged a massive protest on Delhi’s borders from November 2020 to December 2021, were concerned that the new laws would open up the country’s agriculture markets to private companies.
Since the Morcha was not registered as a party by the Election Commission in time for the polls, its candidates contested as independents. The new party had allied with Haryana-based farm leader Gurnam Singh Chaduni’s Sanyukt Sangharsh Party. Out of 117 seats, Chaduni’s party contested 10, while the Morcha fielded candidates in 104 seats.
The Punjab elections were swept by the Aam Aadmi Party which won 92 of the 117 constituencies. The Congress which was in power in Punjab could bag just 18 seats with 23% of the vote share, data provided by the Election Commission showed.
The Sanyukt Samaj Morcha chief Balbir Singh Rajewal lost the poll battle for the Samrala seat, according to The Indian Express. He could only manage 4,676 votes in comparison to the Aam Aadmi Party’s winning candidate who received 57,557 votes.
Rajewal was among the key leaders in the farmer’s agitation.
Several other party candidates such as Prem Singh Bhangu, Sukhmandeep Singh Dhillon, Ravneet Singh Brar, Gurpreet Singh Kotli, and Ramandeep Singh lost the elections.
Bhangu said the people in Punjab were looking for a change and they saw it in the Aam Aadmi Party. “SSM’s [Sanyukta Samaj Morcha] entry into politics was late and perhaps this was the reason that we could not get it translated into votes,” he said, according to The Indian Express.
Manjeet Singh, the chief spokesperson of the Sanyukt Samaj Morcha, said that the unity of farmers was fragile, ThePrint reported.
“One may see them [farmers] as individuals united by one occupation, but they are divided by political affiliations,” he said. “There is an immense power struggle. When some leaders said that they would contest polls, others started acting as major hurdles in their way.”