Mumbai: The Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS) leader Raju Shetti has declared that he is ready to be a part of any alliance between the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party, but with a few conditions. Mr Shetti snapped his political ties with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in October last year. His decision could boost both parties in three districts of western Maharashtra and also present a credible political alliance on farmers’ issues.
“We have been fighting for farmers’ interests for last so many years. I had gone to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) after an assurance by Narendra Modiji about MSPs and other issues of farmers. But we are feeling betrayed now as nothing has been done in the last four years. Rather this will be the most anti-farmer government in the last twenty years,” said Mr Shetti.
Mr Shetti was a staunch opponent of the NCP when he won his first election in Maharashtra assembly in 2004. Even in 2009, when he became a Lok Sabha Member of Parliament, he had done so by defeating the NCP’s candidate. So, aligning with the NCP and the Congress is being seen as a political risk for him. “I am farmer’s representative. So our alliance with Congresses will be based on issues. They have to implement the Swaminathan Commission. Also they will have to pass the bill that we, the farmers body are preparing now once they come to power,” said Mr Shetti.
The conglomeration of almost 250 farmers organisations from all over India is preparing two bills to be presented in Parliament. They will discuss ways to waive of loans of all farmers as well as how farmers won’t be trapped into loans cycles then onward.
Mr Shetti is influential in Kolhapur, Sangali and Solapur districts of western Maharashtra.