Withdraw farm laws, says BJP ally in Rajasthan; threatens to quit alliance
BJP ally Hanuman Beniwal’s threat to exit the NDA comes a day after Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to scrap the three farm laws.
Hanuman Beniwal’s Rashtriya Loktantrik Party that partnered with the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2019 on Monday told Home Minister Amit Shah that his party would reconsider its partnership with the BJP if the Centre did not withdraw the three farm laws. Beniwal also demanded that the Centre implement the recommendations of the Swaminath Commission and hold dialogue with farmers in Delhi in the right spirit.
Hanuman Beniwal, who was once in the Bharatiya Janata Party, floated his party before the 2018 state elections and became part of the National Democratic Alliance right before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Beniwal won the Lok Sabha election from Nagaur in 2019. His party had won 3 seats in the state elections the previous year and had put up a tough fight in quite a few others.
The jat leader’s threat to consider exiting the NDA is seen to indicate the discomfort within the regional party over the protests that erupted against the three farm laws enacted by the BJP-led coalition at the Centre that change the way India’s farmers do business by creating free markets, as opposed to a network of decades-old, government-controlled agricultural markets.
The laws allow businesses to freely trade farm produce outside the so-called government-controlled “mandi system”, permit private traders to stockpile large quantities of essential commodities for future sales and lay down new rules for contract farming.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other senior ministers have tried to dispel concerns around the three laws, telling that these had opened up new opportunities for cultivators.
But leaders of farmers who have been marching to national capital Delhi against the law aren’t convinced and have insisted that their agitation will continue. Thousands of farmers have been camping on the borders of Delhi and in the city’s Burari grounds since November 27, a day after their Delhi Chalo agitation was launched from Punjab. The protests have since then spread to pockets in other states as well.
In a string of tweets that he followed up with a letter to Amit Shah, Hanuman Beniwal said his party would be forced to reconsider its alliance if prompt action is not taken since farmers and the youth formed the core support base of his party.
In a video message earlier, Beniwal said the RLP had protested the three farm laws through social media and on the streets. “Today, I have written to Shah that if the laws aren’t withdrawn, then we will reconsider our alliance with NDA,” he said.
“We are with the farmers and if required will march to Delhi. The PM and Shah should hold dialogue with farmers, and provide space to hold dharna in the capital. If any kind of ill-treatment is done with the farmers, then the farmers of the entire country will be on streets to gherao Delhi,” he said.
Beniwal’s tweets came a day after chief minister Ashok Gehlot wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding withdrawal of the farm laws.