Mumbai: Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS) MP Raju Shetti met Maharashtra governor C. Vidyasagar Rao on Tuesday to discuss farmer-related issues. Mr Shetti is an NDA ally at the Centre and also in the Bharatiya Janata Party-led state government.
Mr Shetti demanded that farmers should get a loan waiver and intervention in the Nagpur-Mumbai Samruddhi Mahamarg. He also submitted a memorandum with the signatures of 6.5 lakh farmers to the governor.
Mr Shetti, who had gone on a march for farmers that ended on Tuesday, said that he was open to speak with the Maharashtra government on the issue but he hadn’t received a response.
“We will give the government a month’s time to meet our loan waiver demand. If it doesn’t respond, our agitation will be ramped up. If the government doesn’t announce a loan waiver within a month, we will call a meeting of our party’s working committee and decide whether or not to remain part of the government,” he said.
Meanwhile, the spilt in the SSS ranks was distinctly visible after Mr Shetti’s one-time close associate and minister of state for agriculture Sadabhau Khot held a dialogue with farmers at Islampur in Sangli district. He also felicitated chief minister Devendra Fadnavis during a public function there.
Reacting to the development and Mr Khot’s absence in the march, Mr Shetti had said, “It does not make any difference whether Sadabhau Khot is present here or not. The organisation does not wait for anyone.”
Mr Shetti has been vocal against the BJP government despite being its ally. Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar also alluded to his disillusionment. “Farmers have been cheated and I am happy that a few have realised this,” Mr Pawar had said without naming Mr Shetti.