An English literature lecturer at a Delhi college, Anuroop Kaur Sandhu, quit her job to take the plunge into politics after being part of the farmers’ movement and is contesting the Punjab assembly polls on a Sanyukt Samaj Morcha ticket.
The Sanyukt Samaj Morcha (SSM), headed by Balbir Singh Rajewal, is a political front launched by 22 farmer unions in December 2021 for the February 20 elections to the 117-member Punjab Assembly.
It has fielded candidates from varied backgrounds, including agriculturists, activists, teachers and doctors.
Kaur said following her association with the farmers’ movement, she applied for the ticket from Muktsar when the SSM was floated and was selected. She is actively campaigning in the assembly segment these days.
During the farmers’ stir against the Centre’s now-repealed farm laws, Sandhu got in touch with the Samyukt Kisan Morcha and visited the protest sites at Delhi borders.
She helped create awareness about the agitation on social media.
“I have been deeply attached to the farmers’ cause and was concerned how because of traditional parties they had to sit on roads for more than a year and many even lost their lives. I decided to contest so that I can raise their voice more effectively,” Sandhu told PTI.
Asked whether she would have contested the elections if the SSM had not been floated, Sandhu said, “Considering that elections were round the corner and I had been associated with this protest from the farmers’ end, I would have only contested if there was a farmers’ party or a workers’ party.”
Sandhu used to teach English literature as an assistant professor at the Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur Khalsa College affiliated to the Delhi University. “I recently resigned from my job to contest,” she said.
Sandhu, who is pursuing MPhil in comparative Indian literature from DU, compiled a list of farmers who died during the agitation in her blog “Human Cost of Farmers Protest”.
“For long, I had been looking at how Punjab was being destroyed by drug abuse and other burning issues prevalent here. But all these traditional parties are the same, they don’t want people to know what the issue is. If anyone of them wins, they will not bring change, their factories, businesses are still going to be there,” she said.
Sandhu said she worked in Delhi but never lost the connection with her hometown Muktsar.
“I belong here, this is my own town, my ancestors have lived here,” she added.
With 13 candidates in the fray, including the SAD’s Kanwarjit Singh, Congress’ Karan Kaur Brar, AAP’s Jagdeep Singh and the BJP’s Parijat Pathela, Sandhu said she might be a greenhorn in politics, but she was here to bring a change.
Taking on the AAP over its claims to have done a lot for farmers, Sandhu said, “Let them mention what they have done. Actually, they have done nothing. They were the first to notify one of the farm laws. When our farmers reached Delhi as part of their agitation, what support did they extend?”
“They talk of giving WiFi connections to the farmers who were sitting at Delhi’s borders, but the fact is people had to pay for their own WiFi connections from shops nearby. You should ask people at the protest site. No electricity connection was given, the place was not even cleaned,” she added.
“And has the AAP forgotten it blamed Punjab and Haryana farmers for the air pollution in Delhi?” she asked. PTI