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There are very few farmer leaders in the country, and Raju Shetti from Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana is one of them. He was one of the strong candidates for Hatkanangle parliamentary constituency in Maharashtra’s sugarcane belt of Kolhapur, as he won from the same constituency in the year 2009 and then again in 2014. But he received a major jolt on Thursday with both party’s candidates suffering an electoral drubbing.
Shetti lost to Shiv Sena’s Dhairyasheel Mane, whereas the other candidate of the party, Vishal Patil, face defeat from the neighbouring Sangli constituency.
Shetti holds considerable influence among sugarcane growers in Maharashtra.
He severed ties with the BJP-led NDA in August 2017 and was backed by UPA for Lok Sabha election.
Political experts feel Shetti failed in convincing his vote bank from western Maharashtra to back the Congress-NCP, against whom he has been fighting for more than a decade.
Among the contributing factors in Shetti’s defeat was presence of Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) candidate Aslam Badshahaji Sayyad in the fray. Sayyad got over 1.18 lakh votes, most of which could have been diverted to Shetti if VBA had not contested the polls.