NEW DELHI: The Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, an erstwhile constituent of the BJP-led NDA, today announced that it would work with the Congress on issues concerning farmers, hinting at a possible electoral alliance ahead of the 2019 general election.
A day after the Congress declared that it would focus on agrarian issues, the Maharashtra-based party's leader and MP Raju Shetti met Congress president Rahul Gandhi here earlier in the day to invite him for a convention of farmers to be held on March 29.
Shetti, however, maintained the parties would work together on farmers' issues and that a decision on any electoral alliance would be taken following discussions.
Congress general secretary in-charge of Maharashtra, Mohan Prakash, and the party's state unit chief, Ashok Chavan, were also present in the meeting.
"Shetti met Rahul ji earlier in the day. The Congress plenary declared a special focus on agrarian issues. That appealed Shetti ji. We will be working together on the issues in Maharashtra. It can be considered as pre-poll alliance in the state," Mohan Prakash said.
Chavan seconded him.
"The agrarian crisis is deepening across the country. Shetti has been working on the issues and shares his views over the issues with that of the Congress," Chavan said.
Asked if the tie-up amounted to electoral alliance ahead of the Lok Sabha and Maharashtra Assembly polls scheduled for next year, Chavan said, "We will hold meetings to discuss that. But there are positive signs." Shetti said he invited Gandhi for the convention of farmers.
Shetti spoke to reporters in the presence of Chavan and Mohan Prakash at AICC here.
"As far as the electoral alliance with Congress is concerned, our party will discuss it first.So far, we have decided to work jointly on farmers' issues," he added.
The Congress yesterday made several promises to farmers including waiving of loans as the UPA government led by it had done writing off around Rs 70,000 worth debt.
Gandhi also announced setting up network of food parks across the country.
The Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana had quit the NDA in August last year.