Pune: Avoiding any announcement as yet about officially parting ways with the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS), Minister of State for Agriculture Sadashiv Khot, who appeared before an internal committee of the party, said the ball is now in the committee’s court.
Khot told reporters he would take the final call once the committee announces its decision. The committee members, on the other hand, claimed that Khot chose not to answer queries related to the party’s stand on whether to remain in the government or not.
Khot was in the city to appear before the internal committee of the SSS headed by senior leader and former SSS president Dashrath Sawant, current president Prakash Pophale, Ravikant Tupkar and Satish Kakade. SSS leaders are blaming Khot for his proximity to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Khot invited their ire for breaking the state-wide farmers’ strike on behalf of the government.
Earlier in the day, indicating that he does not wish to stay with the party, Khot asked his supporters to start preparations to be on their own.
He said he would conduct a state-wide tour to meet farmers and conduct a two-day farmers’ meet to take an overview of the farmers’ movement so far.
Meanwhile, speaking to reporters, committee chairman Dashrath Sawant said Khot chose to brush aside all questions pertaining to the party’s policy on whether to stay with the government or to step aside.
Khot, who chose to give written replies to 23 questions put forward by the committee, clearly refused to take an anti-government stand. He instead questioned the “dubious” stand taken by SSS leaders earlier.
Khot, who is accused of going close to the ruling BJP government, raised a question about the party’s decision to form an alliance with Congress during the zilla parishad elections and supporting the BJP during recently-held presidential polls.
The committee said a report will be prepared in the next 3 to 4 days. The official decision will be announced after the same.
Interestingly, SSS MP Raju Shetti, who was in the city on Friday, chose to stay away from the committee’s proceedings. If this is considered to be a sign of widening rift between the two farmer leaders, then there remains no option for reconciliation. Khot supporters, who were present in a large number, raised slogans hailing him as he appeared before the committee.