Swabhamani Shetkari Sanghatana to decide today on leaving MVA, will not join BJP ranks: Raju Shetti

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Upset over its demands being ignored, Raju Shetti-led Swabhamani Shetkari Sanghatana, which is supporting the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra, will take a call Tuesday at its national executive meeting on whether to walk out of the alliance or stay put. MVA leaders, however, said efforts are underway to persuade him not to leave the alliance.

“We are about to start our national executive meeting. We will have discussions whether to continue in alliance with the MVA government or snap ties with them,” Shetti told The Indian Express paper before the start of the meeting in New Delhi.

The latest trigger for Shetti’s resentment is the government’s decision to pay fair and remunerative prices (FRP) to sugarcane farmers in two instalments instead of the ongoing practice of paying in a single instalment.

Shetti said that the government is refusing to listen to him on reversing its decision on the payment of FRP in two instalments. “Besides, they have completely ignored my letter written in February, urging it to take certain corrective actions including the one on land acquisition and compensation to farmers. However, the government has refused to take cognisance of the letter,” Shetti said.

Shetti said both Chief Minister Uddhav Thackery and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar have been incommunicado. “While the CM has refused to speak to me, the NCP chief met me three days back at a function. We shared the stage but he refused to indulge in any conversation,” Shetti said. However, Shetti said, at a press conference, Pawar said efforts will be made to redress their grievances. “I have not seen any effort to redress our grievances. Neither has Pawar contacted me nor any leader from his party or the MVA has done so,” Shetti said.

The farmer leader said he has made up his mind to dump the MVA. “But I will let my party leaders arrive at a decision,” he said.

On whether the BJP has approached him, Shetti said: “No, the BJP has not approached me…neither will we join their ranks. We are not interested in going the BJP way,” he said.

Congress spokesperson Gopal Tiwari said: “We are confident that the SSS will remain part of the alliance. Efforts are being made to resolve the grievances raised by Shetti.” NCP spokesperson Umesh Patil said,” Raju Shetti and his party should stay with MVA. If they have any issues, they should hold face to face talks with the CM and the NCP chief.”

MVA leaders said Shetti withdrawing support to the government will not have any impact as the SSS had one MLA who too has been expelled by the party. “The lone MLA is supporting the MVA government,” a Shiv Sena leader said.

The Swabhimani Paksha, the political outfit of the SSS, had one MLA in Devendra Bhuyar who was expelled by Shetti last month. Shetti alleged that Bhuyar was indulging in anti-party activities and was not even attending party meetings.

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