Kejriwal seeks his first ally: farmersí leader Raju Shetty

In his first attempt at striking a political alliance, just a fortnight after launching the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Arvind Kejriwal today sought a tie-up with Maharashtra farmers' leader Raju Shetty, founder president of the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS). At present, Shetty is the lone MP representing the Swabhimani Paksha, the SSS's political wing.

"I am glad to say that henceforth we will work together," said Kejriwal, who was on a one-day visit to Sangli where he participated in a rally organised by Shetty's outfit.

"Shetty is a revolutionary leader and has been fighting for farmers in Maharashtra... However, farmers' issues are not limited to Maharashtra... Today, I came here with an invitation to Shetty to lead farmers at the national level," said Kejriwal.

But speaking to The Indian Express later, Shetty said while talks have begun, a final decision is yet to be taken. "We will not dissolve the Swabhimani Paksha into AAP. A committee will be formed to hold discussions before a final decision on an alliance with AAP is taken," he said.

"Our party is limited to Maharashtra so far, and Kejriwal's movement is national. Also, the issues of rural areas are very different from those of urban areas. But there is a need to create a pressure group at the national level to bring about a change in policy," said Shetty.

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