Swabhimani Shektari Sanghatana (SSS) chief Raju Shetti on Monday met AICC president Rahul Gandhi and their meeting sparked talk about whether they would work together ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The SSS was an alliance partner of the NDA in 2014 Assembly and Parliament elections. A few months ago, Shetti withdrew his party’s support to the BJP-led government. The SSS has expressed willingness to have a pre-poll alliance with the Congress in Maharashtra.
Shetti, a member of the Lok Sabha, said, “SSS will work with the Congress on farmer issues.”
The SSS, which has convened a farmers’ conclave in Maharashtra, has invited Gandhi to attend. AICC general secretary in charge of Maharashtra, Mohan Prakash, and Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee president Ashok Chavan, were present during Shetti’s meeting with Gandhi in Delhi.
Prakash said: “The Congress and SSS will work together for the farmers’ cause. The Congress plenary has emphasised on special focus on the farmers issues.”
During the meeting between the Congress president and Shetti, it was decided that both parties would work together on the agrarian issues and farmers welfare, he added.
Chavan, who initiated the process of getting SSS on board the Congress, said, “There is a serious agrarian crisis in the state. We will work to address the farmers’ concerns.” The meeting with Shetti came a day after the Congress declared that it would focus on agrarian issues. Asked if the tie-up amounted to an electoral alliance ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, Chavan told PTI: “We will hold meetings to discuss that. But there are positive signs.”