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Thursday, January 20, 2022

Big differences erupt between Rajewal and Dallewal

BATHINDA: Barely days after the Punjab farm groups returned home victorious from agitation sites at the Delhi border as the Modi government gave in and repealed the three contentious farm laws, serious differences have cropped up between two senior leaders Balbir Singh Rajewal and Jagjit Singh Dallewal, who both head the oldest farm organisations in Punjab Seventy-seven-year-old Rajewal heads Bhartiya Kisan Union (Rajewal) that has a presence across Punjab but is more concentrated in the Ludhiana district, especially Khanna.
Dallewal, who is in his mid-60s, is the state president of BKU Ekta Sidhupur that has its presence in the Malwa region.
Dallewal was one of the first leaders to enter Haryana after crossing numerous barricades on November 26 last year. Both the farm groups are part of Sanyukt Kisan Morcha and the two leaders are part of the nine-member coordination committee formed by the SKM to make decisions for the umbrella group. The war of words started after Rajewal, while speaking to some broadcast journalists, accused Dallewal of being associated with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. An audio clip of Dallewal had gone viral a few days ago in which he was heard saying that SKM got a lot of money from foreign countries.
“Dallewal di ki gall karni oh tan RSS nall sambandh rakhde ne, SKM de naal hi oh kisan mahasangh da vice pardhan hai (What to talk about Dallewal, he is associated with RSS. Apart from SKM, he is vice-president of Kisan Mahasangh),” Rajewal said on Wednesday. Rajewal, however, did not respond to repeated calls to elaborate on his allegations against Dallewal.
After Rajewal’s outburst, Dallewal described his compatriot’s claims as desperation. “Either Rajewal should prove that I have connections with RSS or take his words back,” Dallewal said and added that he had decided not to opt for a legal remedy against Rajewal.
“I am surprised why a senior leader of such a big stature is saying irresponsible things. Rajewal has called me as RSS man due to my association with Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh whereas Rajewal himself is one of the founder members of the mahasangh, floated nearly a decade ago for farming issues. Rajewal along with our farm organisation’s former president, the late Pishora Singh had attended the meeting at Pusa institute where the mahasangh was formed. If I am with RSS due to being a member of the mahasangh, which is an association of 182 farm groups and has no president or vice-president, then Rajewal is also linked with RSS,” Dallewal told TOI.
Revealing cracks in the strong front of unity displayed by the SKM members during the farmer agitation, Dallewal said: “I had opposed the halfbaked agreement with the central government on farming issues, including MSP, which was not liked by Rajewal as some leaders, including Rajewal were ready to negotiate a deal, This desperation against me could be part of my opposition or some political ambitions.”
Dallewal also strongly denied allegations that he did not take part in the “Fateh (victory) march” or that he had skipped the visit to Akal Takht with all other Punjab farm group leaders for thanksgiving. “Hundreds of our trolleys participated in the Fateh march under the leadership of vice-president Kaka Singh Kotda,” he added. There have been rumours and hints about Rajewal being interested in a political career, but strong opposition by the SKM constituents had kept all farm groups away from active politics. Even BKU (Charuni) president Gurnam Singh Charuni had to face strong opposition when he tried to show interest in contesting assembly polls in Punjab.
With pressure growing on Punjab farm groups to capitalise on the positive dividend from the repeal of farm laws, it remains to be seen how these groups manage to keep their unity intact.

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