The ongoing protests by farmers seem to be driving a wedge in the alliance between the BJP and the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party in Rajasthan. Nagaur MP Hanuman Beniwal, who is also the national convenor of the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party, has backed the protest saying that he is ready to join the stir with 4-5 lakh farmers from Rajasthan
Beniwal, founder of the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party, has openly opposed the farm bills and wants them withdrawn. He had formed an alliance with the BJP ahead of the 2018 Lok Sabha elections. The BJP had given the Nagaur seat to Beniwal who won on his party ticket. However since then there seem to be fissures in the alliance.
Beniwal has been vocal on the Central legislations, saying that his party stands for the welfare of farmers and if the BJP takes an anti-farmer stance, he will not hesitate to walk out of the alliance.
He said the manner in which the farmers had been stopped was undemocratic. “The government should talk to the farmers. Modi ji should not forget that it is the farmers who have brought him to power.
Beniwal’s moves are seen as driven by political considerations. He belongs to the Jat community, a majority of whom are farmers. Beniwal’s stronghold too is in the Jat dominated areas of western Rajasthan.
He is keen to establish a pan-Rajasthan presence before the 2023 assembly elections in the state and wants to keep his distinct identity intact. He has said several times that BJP leaders want RLP to merge with it but he is staunchly opposed to that.
The Rajasthan BJP seems unsure how to handle the situation and is looking at the party high command for directions. However, the high command has its hands full with Bengal and other state elections slated for next year and Rajasthan is not on their radar.
Beniwal is a former BJP MLA who quit the party after differences with former chief minister Vasundhara Raje. He has openly criticised Raje and accused her of being hand in glove with chief minister Ashok Gehlot.