Mumbai: A leading farmers’ outfit in Maharashtra led by Lok Sabha (LS) MP Raju Shetti has indicated that it is open to an alliance with the Congress for the 2019 general elections, provided the latter supports it on two key agrarian issues. Shetti joined the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) in Delhi in March this year.
According to reports, the Shetti-led organisation, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS), is interested in contesting six of the 48 LS seats in the state. The organisation may insist on contesting from Kolhapur, Hatkanangale (Kolhapur district), Madha (Solapur district), Wardha, Buldhana and Sangli. At present, Shetti is the lone representative attached to the SSS in the Lok Sabha. He was elected from the Hatkanangale constituency. SSS may seek support from the Congress regarding fair prices for farmers. “We want the Congress to support a private members’ bill that Mr Shetti will move, seeking provision of fair prices to farmers. We also want the Congress to back our demand of implementing the report of the Swaminathan Commission (which has suggested a slew of measures to address farm distress). These are long-standing demands,” said a leader of the organisation.
The SSS had joined BJP in 2014 during the general elections but later quit the party in August last year. According to Shetti, Mr Modi had promised the implementation of the Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations among many other things but did not keep his promise.