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Saturday, January 23, 2021

NDA ally Hanuman Beniwal quits Lok Sabha panels: ‘Will march to Delhi’

A prominent Jat leader, Beniwal enjoys considerable support among the youth and the community in districts such as Nagaur and Barmer in Rajasthan.

Written by Deep Mukherjee | Jaipur | December 20, 2020 7:37:48 am
hanuman beiniwal, farm laws, RPL, RLP to walk out of NDA , farm laws protests, farmers protest, indian expressNagaur MP Hanuman Beniwal (Photo: Twitter/@hanumanbeniwal)

Having earlier expressed his opposition to the new farm laws, Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP) chief and Nagaur MP Hanuman Beniwal, whose party is an NDA member, Saturday announced his resignation from three Lok Sabha committees and said he will march towards Delhi on December 26 with two lakh supporters, in protest against the three Acts.

“The government in Delhi is in a mood to crush the farmer protests. After consultation with all office-bearers of the RLP, we have decided that on December 26, two lakh jawans and kisans will march towards Delhi through the Shahjahanpur border. This is a question of Rajasthan’s honour. We will not tolerate the attempts being made by governments to erase the existence of the farmer community,” Beniwal told reporters in Jaipur, adding that a decision on whether the RLP would continue in the NDA would be taken during the march.

A prominent Jat leader, Beniwal enjoys considerable support among the youth and the community in districts such as Nagaur and Barmer in Rajasthan. “The government in Delhi shouldn’t take the farmer protests lightly. If the protests flare up countrywide, it will be difficult for the BJP to tackle them,” Beniwal said Saturday.

The RLP’s demands were withdrawal of the three farm Acts and implementation of the Swaminathan Commission report, he said. “In support of the farmer protests, I am resigning from three Lok Sabha committees — the Standing Committee on Industry, the Consultative Committee of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, and the Committee on Petitions. I have sent an email in this regard to the Lok Sabha Speaker.”

In his resignation letter from the committees, which he shared on Twitter, Beniwal also mentioned issues such as an FIR not being lodged over an “attack” on him in Barmer, non-spending of CSR funds, and environmental clearances obtained on the basis of ‘wrong facts’.

While putting off a decision about staying in the NDA till December 26, saying he would do so “in the presence of lakhs of people”, Beniwal indicated his mind was made. “You must have understood today… when I have resigned from the committees… definitely Hanuman Beniwal’s road will be separate,” he said.

He added that the RLP would not enter into any alliance for the by-elections to three Assembly seats and the 2023 Assembly elections in Rajasthan.

Slamming the Ashok Gehlot-led Rajasthan government on issues such as law and order, Beniwal accused it of collusion with former CM Vasundhara Raje. Beniwal has long been a detractor of Raje, and had quit the BJP to form the RLP ahead of the 2018 Assembly elections due to this rift, winning three seats. However, the RLP and BJP had aligned for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, with the RLP winning only one seat, that contested by Beniwal.

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