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Fissures in Farm Agitation Leadership, SKM Suspends Gurnam Singh Charuni for a Week

File photo of farmers protest.

File photo of farmers protest.

Charuni, a prominent farm leader from Haryana and a core member of the agitation, had ruffled feathers when he asked Punjab’s farm leaders to take a political plunge.

Exposing chinks within the farm law agitation leadership on testing of political waters ahead of the State Assembly elections, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha on Wednesday suspended one of its key committee members, Gurnam Singh Charuni, for a week over his ‘mission Punjab’ remarks.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the nine-member committee of the SKM which deliberated on his recent utterances. Charuni is a prominent farm leader from Haryana and has been a core member of the agitation. He had ruffled feathers when he recently made a statement asking Punjab’s farm leaders to take a political plunge and contest the Assembly elections in the State due early next year.

In a viral video, the head of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Charuni group) had taken a dig at Punjab farmer leaders and appealed to them to start the “Mission Punjab” and present a new model of governance before the country. “Farmers have been protesting for the past seven months, but there seems to be no solution in sight. Punjab leaders have to prepare for the electoral battle because it is the only option to bring a change. If there is a better option, they should adopt that,” he reportedly said in the video interview.

He said farmers had the power to vote and form the government of a political party of their choice. “Why can’t they use the power for themselves? They have to think about it (electoral politics) and realise its importance. If they don’t want to understand, they will be equally responsible for the prevailing system,’’ Charuni had said.

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The remarks had not gone down well with Punjab leaders. The SKM top brass carried out an emergency meeting on Wednesday in which the decision to suspend him for a week was taken. “It must not be forgotten that there is a difference between electoral politics and people’s movement,” the farm leaders at the meeting said.

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first published:July 14, 2021, 19:33 IST