MUMBAI: Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS) leader Raju Shetti on Thursday said that nothing substantial will come out of the meeting between BJP president Amit Shah and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.
“It is highly unlikely that the two parties will change their stand towards each other,” said Mr Shetti, a former NDA ally who won the 2014 Lok Sabha polls from Ichalkaranji with the BJP-Sena support.
Replying to a query about the possibility of him being wooed back into the NDA, Mr Shetti said, “I don’t think I am that big a person that Mr Shah should come to meet me. But, even if that were to happen, I may fall ill like Lata Mangeshkar.”
Incidentally, the 88-year-old Bharat Ratna awardee tweeted on Wednesday that she was unable to meet Mr Shah as she was unwell due to food poisoning.
Mr Shetti said, “When I was an ally, the BJP did not feel the need to talk after coming to power.”
He said that the recent moves by several opposition parties to forge an alliance against the BJP was a good sign. However, he was quick to add, “For farmers, just a regime change is not important. We need to ensure proper prices for farm produce, the welfare of agriculturists, and steps to ensure that they don’t run into debt.”
Mr Shetti criticised the state government’s loan waiver scheme and claimed that “unnecessary conditions” had been laid down for farmers to avail the waiver. He added that the total loan waiver amount will not be more than Rs 14,000 crore.
The leader pointed out that farm credit for this year stood at Rs 22,000 crore against Rs 42,000 crore last year. “This is because banks are not giving loans to farmers as they are still debt-ridden. The monsoon is setting in, and sowing operations will soon start. But farmers don’t have money to buy seeds, fertilisers etc.,” he said.