Rashtriya Loktantrik Party chief Hanuman Beniwal (centre) speaks to media in Jaipur on 19 December 2020 | ANI
Rashtriya Loktantrik Party chief Hanuman Beniwal (centre) speaks to media in Jaipur on 19 December 2020 | ANI

New Delhi: Nagaur MP Hanuman Beniwal Saturday announced he was leaving the NDA in view of its treatment of the farmers protesting the three contentious farm laws, making the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP) the fifth party to split from the alliance since Narendra Modi came to power in 2014.

It is also the second party to leave the ruling alliance over the farm laws after the Shiromani Akali Dal in September.

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The decision comes a week after Beniwal, who is the RLP chief, had resigned from three parliamentary committees he was a member of. Beniwal had also threatened to quit the alliance if the farm laws were not repealed.

Speaking to ThePrint, Beniwal said that even though thousands of farmers have been protesting at Delhi’s borders for the last 30 days, the Modi government hasn’t been inclined to address their issues even when “farmers are saying this law is not good”.

“Why you are imposing law on farmers? In last discussion with home minister, I requested him to call farmers and address their concern, but they are not ready to listen. We are a farmers’ party … how can we associate with an anti-farmer move? That is why I am leaving NDA,” he added.

Beniwal made the announcement while addressing a farmers’ rally in Shahjahanpur in Alwar district. On Friday, Beniwal had announced a march to Delhi in support of farmers organisations holding a protest against the contentious laws.

Farmers from Rajasthan have been protesting in Shahjhanpur near the Rajasthan-Haryana border on the Jaipur-Delhi highway for 14 days.

“We were demanding withdrawal of three farm Acts and implementation of the Swaminathan Commission report repeatedly, but nobody gave me assurance of implementation (of the report). Centre is not concerned about farmers’ interest … they are only interested in breaking unity of farmers,” he said.

The BJP Rajasthan has hit out Beniwal, but said the move will not impact the party.

“He won the election on Modi’s name, but he has been continuously speaking against NDA … he is seeking his own interest. He took six month to realise that farmers have been neglected? It will have no impact on BJP,” state president Satish Punia told ThePrint.

Beniwal formed the RLP in 2018, which went on to win three assembly seats in Rajasthan that year. Then next year, in the 2019 general election, it won one Lok Sabha seat.

A known detractor of former Rajasthan CM and BJP leader Vasundhara Raje, he alleged that incumbent CM Ashok Gehlot and Raje had a tacit understanding when Sachin Pilot rebelled against the Congress earlier this year. There was speculation of Pilot joining the BJP, though he later clarified that he was not leaving the Congress.

Also read: BJP ally Rashtriya Loktantrik Party’s MP Beniwal joins farmers protest in Rajasthan

RLP fifth party to part ways with NDA

The RLP is the fifth ally to part ways from the NDA coalition since it came to power. Before the Akali Dal this year, the Shiv Sena split from the coalition in November 2019. With 18 members, the Sena was one of the biggest NDA constituents.

Earlier that year, the Assam Gan Parishad had quit the alliance over the citizenship amendment bill.

In 2018, the Telugu Desam Party ended its alliance amid demands for Andhra Pradesh to be given the special category status. In December that year, the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party left the NDA over the Bihar seat-sharing deal ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

Also read: Farmers’ union agree to resume talks with Modi govt, add 4 riders to their agenda


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