Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS) founder and former Member of the Parliament Raju Shetti has accepted the Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) offer to nominate him from the governor’s quota to the Maharashtra Legislative Council. NCP, which is expected to get four seats in the proposed governor’s quota, has fulfilled its promise of offering Shetti nomination from its own quota. This news was confirmed by state NCP president Jayant Patil, who is also Water Resources Minister in the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, and Shetti himself. In all, 12 legislators, who were nominated from the governor's quota, retired recently.
The announcement is expected to be made early next week once Shetti meets party chief Sharad Pawar. Shetti, who lost to Shiv Sena nominee from his home turf Hatkalangda in Kolhapur district, has been a Congress and NCP ally. Shetti’s party had fought the state assembly election in an alliance with the Congress and NCP.
Shetti told the Free Press Journal, “I have accepted NCP’s offer and it will be soon communicated to the state party chief Jayant Patil. I was quite keen to get elected to the Rajya Sabha, but it could not happen. In order to stay in the mainstream politics, I have given my consent to become a member of the Maharashtra Legislative Council. However, I will prepare myself fully to contest the next general election slated for 2024.’’
He reminded that NCP had promised to leave one seat to SSS during the recently held election to the upper house. “NCP could not make it and, therefore, has now given this offer which I have accepted,’’ he noted.
This move will reinstate Shetti in the state’s politics, though he wanted to be nominated to the Rajya Sabha for pursuing issues concerning agriculture, farmers and farm linked businesses at the national level.
This apart, with his nod to be a member of Maharashtra Legislative Council, Shetti (a former arch rival of NCP chief Sharad Pawar) is expected to focus on building up new political equations to keep the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at bay in Maharashtra. Shetti proposes to further strengthen its relations with NCP and use MLC to regain its hold in state politics.