RLP joins protest, leaves NDA over new farm laws
The Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP) on Saturday announced its decision to walk out of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) over the recently enacted farm laws.
“We are quitting the NDA. Nothing is above the pride of farmers in the country,” RLP chief and Nagaur MP Hanuman Beniwal said at a farmers’ rally in Alwar’s Shahjahanpur after starting a march to Delhi in support of the farmers who have been protesting against the contentious laws.
In September, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) had quit the NDA over the three farms laws. Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, have been camping at Delhi’s borders since November 26, demanding a repeal of these laws.
“I request the central government to not play with flames. Any government who has dared to go against the farmers has been dethroned. Because of these laws, agriculture mandis will end, why didn’t the government consult the farmers? Because of this act land mafias raj will increase. I don’t understand why the government is not rolling back the laws,” said Beniwal at the protest site.
The Centre has maintained that the laws have been enacted for the benefit of the farmers and has offered to give a written assurance that the minimum support price (MSP) will continue. The farmers, however, have rejected the Centre’s offer and demanded that the laws be scrapped.
Beniwal was elected as a BJP MLA in Rajasthan for the first time in 2008 but later left the party. He won the 2013 assembly elections as an Independent and formed the RLP ahead of the 2018 assembly elections. His party allied with the BJP for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. He had resigned from three parliamentary committees last week in support of farmers’ agitation.
The ties between the BJP and RLP were strained earlier this month after the ruling party at the Centre backed an Independent for the post of a local body head instead of RLP’s candidate. Beniwal at the time said that they were reconsidering their alliance with the BJP.
The BJP downplayed Beniwal’s exit from the alliance and questioned the motive behind his move to walk out of the NDA. “Earlier, he had supported the agriculture laws but now just to gain political mileage he had quit the alliance,” BJP spokesperson Mukesh Pareekh said.
Former MP quits BJP
Former MP Harinder Singh Khalsa on Saturday quit the BJP accusing its leadership of having an indifferent attitude towards the protesting farmers. Khalsa,73, had won the Fatehgarh Sahib Lok Sabha seat in 2014 as an Aam Aadmi Party candidate but had been suspended from the AAP for his alleged anti-party activities. He had joined the BJP in 2019.
(With PTI inputs)