The on-going protests by farmers have once again brought to fore the differences between NDA ally Hanuman Beniwal and a section of state BJP leaders, mainly consisting of loyalists of former Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.
In a strongly-worded letter to NDA chairperson Amit Shah, Beniwal, who is the lone MP from the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP), had said that the government should “immediately act” on withdrawing the three farm Bills.
“If a decision is not taken over this issue with immediate effect, then RLP, which is a constituent party of the NDA, will have to reconsider on its decision to continue in the alliance. The strength of RLP is in farmers and jawans,” Beniwal said in the letter.
This prompted an attack from Raje loyalists who urged Beniwal to leave the NDA.
Beniwal, a former BJP leader and known Raje-baiter, has attacked Raje on numerous occasions in the last few years, accusing her of being hand-in-glove with Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.
In a joint statement, Raje loyalists consisting of former minister and incumbent MLA from Chhabra, Pratap Singh Singhvi, former MLAs Bhawani Singh Rajawat, Prahlad Gunjal and Vidyashankar Nandwana, as well as former Zila Pramukh Govind Singh Parmar said that “rather than tomorrow, he should break away today itself. BJP has no need of him. There was a time when he himself had approached BJP. BJP is a powerful party today and no party can compete with it. His so-called RLP is restricted to a handful of people of a particular caste.”
They also asked him to desist from mudslinging at Raje, saying that she still “rules the hearts of crores of people.” The leaders also asked Shah and party national president J P Nadda “why is the party still tolerating him?” They said that the party has a huge voter base and lost the 2018 elections only by a margin of 1.5 lakh votes.
Beniwal shot back at Singhvi, reminding him of alleged irregularities committed by him while he was the Urban Development and Housing minister and which were highlighted by Rajasthan Lokayukta.
“It will be better if you strengthen the role of opposition in the democracy. By colluding with the Gehlot government, you cannot hide the scams and irregularities you are answerable for,” Beniwal said.
Singhvi asked Beniwal to get the matter investigated and said that no case is pending against him. “I can also make personal accusations, but I have not inherited such political values,” Singhvi said.
In a separate statement, former BJP state president Ashok Parnami said that “at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is talking about making farmers self-reliant, rather than following the coalition dharma, he is threatening BJP and talking about leaving NDA.” He said that no one is stopping Beniwal from leaving.
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