The movement, which started in 2016 as 'Apang Swang Lok Manch' with its fight for the rights of the differently-abled, was later renamed as 'Lok Adhikaar Lehar' in 2017 and world-renowned agricultural economist and Padma Bhushan awardee Dr Sardara Singh Johl was appointed as its convenor.
A GRASSROOTS movement started by a group of intellectuals, academicians, social workers, farm union leaders and other non-political volunteers to work on various issues for the people of Punjab, the Lok Adhikar Lehar has announced that it will be fielding candidates in the 2022 Assembly polls and a new political party will be formed.
The announcement was made at a gathering at Dr BR Ambedkar Bhawan in Ludhiana Friday, where three former vice-chancellors of prominent varisities, came out in support of the movement.
Dr Kirpal Singh Aulakh and Dr Manjit Singh Kang — both ex-VCs of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) and Dr Gursharn Singh Randhawa, former V-C, Guru Kashi University — on Friday attended the event in the support of Lok Adhikaar Lehar. Dr Aulakh (80) has also been appointed as patron of the movement.
Dr Aulakh, however, clarified that he won’t be contesting elections. He told The Indian Express: “I have agreed to be the patron of Lok Adhikaar Lehar because I strongly feel that Punjab needs an alternative party to solve its issues. Earlier I thought that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and some other new parties will do something for Punjab but even they have turned into usual political parties. Our plan is to field candidates who are educated, well-read and who will genuinely work for Punjab. But I won’t be fighting polls myself.”
Dr Manjit Singh Kang, former V-C PAU, said he too won’t be contesting polls but is only supporting because they have promised to work for farmers.
“Farmers are suffering and no one is doing anything for them. Wherever I will find a ray of hope for farmers, I will support that cause. I am not going to contest polls myself or join any political party. I am only supporting this movement for the issues they are raising and to raise a voice for our farmers.”
The movement, which started in 2016 as ‘Apang Swang Lok Manch’ with its fight for the rights of the differently-abled, was later renamed as ‘Lok Adhikaar Lehar’ in 2017 and world-renowned agricultural economist and Padma Bhushan awardee Dr Sardara Singh Johl was appointed as its convenor.
Founder Balwinder Singh, who works at the Government Institute for Blind, Ludhiana, says, “We had started with the fight for rights of differently-abled persons and then raised several other issues such as old age and widow pension, MNREGA workers issues, contractual employees and laborers issues among others. Dr Johl was our convenor but recently due to some difference of opinion on the farm laws issue, he has distanced himself from our group. We will be floating a new political party for Punjab polls next year and will field candidates. Party’s name is yet to be decided. All candidates from our outfit will contest on one symbol. Dr Aulakh, Dr Kang, Dr Randhawa and other intellectuals supporting us are our think-tank.”
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