Hometown: Rajewal, Ludhiana
Marital Status: Married
Age: 78 Years
|Physical Stats & More|
|Height (approx.)||in centimeters- 173 cm
in meters- 1.73 m
in feet & inches- 5’ 8”
|Political Party||Sanyukt Samaj Morcha (SSM)|
|Date of Birth||20 August 1943 (Friday)|
|Age (as of 2021)||78 Years|
|Birthplace||Rajewal, Ludhiana, Punjab.|
|Hometown||Bhagwanpura, Ludhiana, Punjab|
|School||A. S. Sr Sec School, Khanna, Ludhiana district of Punjab|
|College/University||A.S. College, Khanna|
|Religion||Sikhism Balbir Singh Rajewal's Facebook|
|Controversies||• Arrested for participation in various protests: Protesting over farming issues, Rajewal has been jailed several times. The Tribune In 1974, he was arrested while protesting against the zonal restrictions levied on farmers for the sale of wheat outside the state. The Indian Express
• Accused of raising funds from NRIs: In December 2021, a video featuring Jagjit Singh Dallewal, of Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) Sidhupur, went viral in which he claimed that various SKM factions had received crores of rupees from the NRIs living in the foreign countries. Jagjit Singh said that "some of us are too eager to become the chief minister." Furthermore, he made an appeal to NRI's, who had generously donated abundance of money during the 2020 Farmers' protest, to refrain from sending any money to the political parties to contest in 2022 Punjab Legislative Assembly election.News18 Punjab/Haryana/Himachal's YouTube channel Thereafter, a war of words erupted between Dallewal and Rajewal. Consequently, Rajewal accused Dallewal of having close ties with Hindu nationalist right-wing organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). The Times of India While addressing the media, Rajewal said,
“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)”
• Accused of striking an underhand deal with Amit Shah: On 29 December 2021, the President of Shiromani Akali Dal Sukhbir Singh Badal accused Balbir Singh Rajewal of striking an underhand deal with Amit Shah, the Union home minister, to weaken the farmers’ protest. The Times of India Sukhbir Singh Badal, while talking to the media said,
"The contents of the letter, which is now in the public domain, are even more shocking. They reveal that Rajewal and his close group were willing to sacrifice the welfare of farmers and had even agreed to a partial rollback of the farm laws in direct contravention of the public stand of the kisan andolan (farmers’ protest) that it would only agree to a complete rollback of the three black laws.”
|Relationships & More|
|Wife/Spouse||Name Not Known|
|Children||Son- Name Not Known (Commercial Pilot-turned-Farmer)|
|Parents||Father- Asa Singh (Farmer)
Mother- Name Not Known
|Siblings||Brother- 2 elder brothers (Names Not Known)|
|Assets/Properties||He owns 60 acres of land in Rajewal, Punjab. The Indian Express|
Some Lesser Known Facts About Balbir Singh Rajewal
- Balbir Singh Rajewal is an Indian politician. He is the founder of Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) Rajewal and the Chief Ministerial candidate of the Sanyukt Samaj Morcha (SSM) party for the 2022 Punjab Legislative Assembly elections. He came into the limelight after his active participation in the 2020 Indian farmers’ protest.
- He began his career as a telegraphist, but he resigned in 1968. He has also worked in the Punjab telephone department. Thereafter, Rajewal became a farmer and started farming in his native village, Rajewal. Later, he also established two rice mills near Rajewal.
- Apart from farming, he is the president of Malwa College Bondli-Samrala, Punjab.
- He pursued the profession of “Arhtiya” (commission agent) in Khanna Mandi, Ludhiana, for a while.
- Rajewal began his journey as a farm union leader in 1971 when he founded the Punjab Khetibari Union (PKU). Previously known as Punjab Khetibari Zamindari Union, PKU was formed with the collation of eleven peasant groups in Chandigarh in 1972. PKU was renamed Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) in December 1978 to make it a national forum for farmers. After the formation of BKU in Hyderabad on 14 December 1978, Rajewal became its secretary. At BKU, Rajewal joined hands with several notable farmer leaders like Mahendra Singh Tikait, Sharad Anantrao Joshi, and Narayan Swami, for regulating various farmer agitational campaigns.
- From 1974 to 1988, he was associated with BKU (Lakhowal). Thereafter, he pledged his allegiance to BKU (Mann). In 2001, he introduced his own BKU faction, BKU (Rajewal).
- In 1974, BKU began its hustle to abolish the restrictions which prevented the farmers to sell their produce at any place across the country. For his active participation in the agitation defying the zonal restrictions, Rajewal was put into jail. The Indian Express
- He is also credited with drafting the constitution of the Punjab Khetibari Union, which was adopted by BKU in 1978. In 1983, he fought for the issue of electricity charges for farmers. After various farmers’ groups parted ways with BKU in 1988, Rajewal remained associated with it.
- He also runs an honesty shop named “Sach Di Dukan” (Truth’s Shop), which has no shopkeeper but only a box for customers to voluntarily deposit money for what they buy.
- In 1992, his son left his job as a commercial pilot to take over farming from him.
- His hunger strike in 2013 was successful in getting relief of Rs. 800 crores to farmers under drought fund and relief for tubewell bills.
- On 9 August 2020, a protest against three farm acts that were passed by the Parliament of India in September 2020 was launched at the Singhu and Tikri borders of the nation’s capital, Delhi. The protest was joined by various BKU factions. In the protest, Balbir Singh was the leader of BKU (Rajewal). Mainly active in Patiala, Mohali, Sangrur, Ropar, Kapurthala, Ludhiana, Hoshiarpur, Ferozepur, Jalandhar, Nawanshahr, and several districts of the Malwa region, BKU (Rajewal) become one of the leading farmer organisations of Punjab during the 2020 Indian farmers’ protest.
- When the protest was at its peak, Balbir Singh Rajewal had instructed BKU Rajewal’s activists to picket political leaders, especially from the BJP, whenever they visited Punjab to attend any political function or event. Rajewal’s activism led to a remarkable rise in his prominence in Punjab as a farmer leader.
- He became a member of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SSM), a coalition of over forty Indian farmers’ unions, in November 2020. A prominent figure in the protest, Rajewal was one of the farmer negotiators whose skilful articulation of the farmer’s viewpoint played a key role during the meetings with the government. His leadership skills were beneficial during the meetings of the 31 unions for the planning and implementation of the protest.
- Referring to the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, Rajewal said Punjab and Haryana high court had already allowed farmers to sell their farm produce anywhere in the country in 1976, and he claimed that the Modi government had just pandered to the corporates. While explaining why bills were redundant, he said,
We had achieved the facility in 1976, when the court had given farmers the freedom to sell anywhere, but this government only wanted to promote corporates. The laws were not for the welfare of farmers, but for the welfare of corporates.”
- Balbir Singh’s father, Asa Singh, his two elder brothers, and even his sister-in-law was once jailed while fighting for the farm rights.
- Prior to his participation in the 2020 Farmer’s protest, Rajewal had never been associated with any political party, but he was considered to have close ties to the Shiromani Akali Dal, a Sikh-centric state political party in Punjab, especially with the former deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal. Apparently, Rajewal provided his expertise to the Akalis in drawing up plans for agricultural improvement in the state.
- Rajewal was also an aide to the Congress government assisting them over some farmer issues until 2002 when Congress did not agree to compensate Rs. 110 crores of paddy damages to farmers. In reciprocation to Congress’ refusal to compensate the damages, Rajewal launched a protest.
- He was offered the position of “Halka Incharge” (constituency incharge) from the Samrala Assembly segment in 2014 by then Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal. Rajewal declined the offer as he did not want to contest in the polls. In the 2022 Punjab Legislative Assembly elections, Rajewal was offered a key post by AAP national convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, which Rajewal denied under the pressure of farmer unions.
- After the farm laws were formally repealed in December 2021, twenty-two Farm unions of Punjab broke away from the SKM and announced their intentions to participate in the 2022 Punjab Legislative Assembly elections headed by Balbir Singh, who became the Chief Minister face of the party named Sanyukt Samaj Morcha (SSM). A statement was issued by the coordination committee of the SKM forbidding political parties to use SKM’s banner to lure votes. The SSM contested from all constituencies in the 117-seat Punjab assembly.
- For his activism during the 2020 Indian farmers’ protest, Rajewal was honoured by the Sahnewal Nagar Council, along with Gurdwara Reru Sahib Committee and Kar Sewa Samudaye, on 13 December 2021.
- Balbir Singh Rajewal was also honoured by Muslims at Jama Masjid, Ludhiana, on 20 December 2021. During his visit to Jama Masjid in Ludhiana, Rajewal paid tribute to the late Shahi Imam of Punjab Maulana Habib Ur Rehman Sani Ludhianvi.