The AAP in Maharashtra on Tuesday got a boost ahead of Lok Sabha elections, with Shetkari Sanghatana leader Raghunath Patil joining the Arvind Kejriwal-led outfit here along with his followers.
"Today, we all are becoming Aam Admi Party members. From tomorrow, we will start implementing programmes of the party," Patil told reporters, in presence of senior state AAP leaders.
Calling for implementation of the model APMC legislation aimed at reform in agri-marketing system, Patil said, the Model Act came in 2003 but there was no implementation.
"Allow farmers to sell their produce in your locality. Also, allow traders to purchase the produce directly from our farms. Now, as per the present system, the produce has to go to the APMC Vashi market. Neither Congress nor Sena-BJP implemented the Act," he said.
"I am head of Maharashtra unit of Shetkari Sangathana which is a registered body and will continue to exist," he said, to a query on the future of the Sanghatana.
"Every time in the past, we supported the Sena-BJP alliance for farmers' issues. But they did not handle farmers issues properly. Three lakh farmers committed suicide but the opposition did not hold the government accountable," Patil said.
"At such a time, AAP is a new party which has come up through people's movement," he said.
"We have told them (AAP) that the 2014 election should be fought on farmers issues, on issues of farmers suicides. Due to this, we have supported AAP," Patil said.
Patil's move follows Swabhimanin Shetkari Sanghatana MP Raju Shetty joining hands with the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance recently.
A decade ago, Shetty had deserted Sanghatan founder Sharad Joshi, his mentor then, accusing him of 'compromising' on principles and joining 'communal' forces. Joshi was nominated as a Rajya Sabha member by the BJP.