Mumbai: Days after parting ways with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), the Lok Sabha MP Raju Shetty-led Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghtana (SSS) has split into two groups.Former SSS leader Sadabhau Khot, a Minister of State in the Maharashtra government, on Thursday announced the formation of a new farmers’ organisation, which will hold its first rally in Ichalkaranji on September 30 on the occasion of Dussehra.“Ever since I became a minister, I chose the approach of maintaining a dialogue with the government to solve farmers’ problems. But some leaders did not want this to continue as it may have challenged their dominance. Hence, they started disturbing and criticising me,” Mr. Khot said.Thanking the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leadership in the State for standing by him, Mr. Khot hinted that the new organisation may join hands with the BJP in future elections. The minister was recently subjected to an inquiry within the SSS. Mr. Shetty has been vocal against Mr. Khot, alleging that he had sidelined farmers’ interests to protect his ministerial berth. He especially faced criticism during the first farmers’ strike in the State two months ago.A long-time ally of Mr. Shetty, Mr. Khot played a vital role in the Sanghtana’s growth in western Maharashtra’s sugar cane belt. The new organisation, the name of which will be announced on September 21 in Kolhapur, threatens to damage Mr. Shetty.When asked if he will resign as minister since the BJP’s alliance was with the SSS, Mr. Khot said, “He (Mr. Shetty) too fought the election as BJP’s ally. Let him resign as well, and then let people decide,” he said.
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