Lok Sabha Elections 2019:‘Modi should be prime minister again’, says Beniwal
Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP) MLA from Khinvsar, Hanuman Beniwal has established himself as a strong Jat leader. Beniwal, once a BJP MLA, has tied-up with the BJP for the Lok Sabha election. In an interview to Urvashi Dev Rawal, he speaks on a range of issues from differences with former CM Raje to lack of leadership in the Congress. Edited excerpts:
You were in talks with the Congress for a tie-up. Why the sudden of change of heart?
I had asked for seven seats for Rashtriya Loktantrik party but they agreed to offer three-four seats to RLP. Then during the Congress election committee meeting in Delhi, I was told there was a fight over the Nagaur seat. I told them if Nagaur is off the table then the alliance is off. When they had agreed to something in Jaipur, they can’t go back. We are fighting for our prestige and respect.
Why did you agree to tie-up with the BJP?
After the talks with Congress failed, we got a survey done and the feedback we got was that in national interest we should ally with the BJP. So I met and spoke to (state poll incharge) Prakash Javadekar and later I also spoke to (BJP chief) Amit Shah on phone. And they too did not insist on a merger but agreed to an alliance. I am supporting BJP in national interest to make Narendra Modi PM again.
For five years you were a critique of former CM Vasundhara Raje. How will you manage equations with her now?
This is not a state election. This is a national election. My fight with Raje is over. I have shown her my political strength. In 2013 and 2018, I contested as independent and won. The focus is to help NDA get 350 to 400 seats now.
You were critical of Modi for failing to address issues of unemployment and farm distress. How will you support him now?
Yes, they are big problems and Modi has taken steps to address them. But the entire country has had a change of heart (in favour of Modi) after the Pulwana terrorist attack. I have to care for their sentiments. I can’t let the interest of the country suffer and make my people angry. So I have gone in for an alliance.
Jats are seen as a Congress vote bank. Will they vote for the BJP this time?
In the last election (2014) too, Jats voted for BJP in Rajasthan and other states. Jats used to be a Congress vote bank some 15-20 years ago, not any longer. As the Congress leadership in Delhi weakened, regional Jat leaders have emerged.
How do you see Congress leadership in the state and in Delhi?
There is no leadership in Congress. It is divided into factions in Rajasthan. After Lok Sabha election, their fight will be out in the open. Rahul Gandhi’s leadership too is not effective. Congress will not get more than 70 seats in the parliamentary elections. After the surgical strikes, they are set to lose what little support they had.