Unhappy with the Narendra Modi government's stand on the new farm laws and its handling of the ongoing farmers' protest, BJP ally Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP) today announced it is leaving the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) over issues concerning the new farm laws.
Declaring the move, RLP chief Hanuman Beniwal said, "I have left the NDA in protest against the three farm laws. These laws are anti-farmer. I have left NDA but won't forge alliance with the Congress."
The Rashtriya Loktantrik Party is the second BJP ally after the Akali Dal to leave the NDA over the new farm laws.
Speaking about his decision to leave the NDA, Hanuman Beniwal alleged that his Covid-19 test report was "fudged" to keep him out of Parliament during the Monsoon Session when the farm laws were enacted.
"The farm laws were brought in my absence. If I was present in the Lok Sabha when the farm laws were brought, I would have torn them apart and thrown them away," Beniwal said.
Beniwal, the Lok Sabha MP from Rajasthan's Nagaur, had given a call for two lakh farmers to move towards Delhi in support of the farmers' agitation that has been on for the past one month.
Earlier in the day, Beniwal led farmers' movement from Jaipur, Nagaur, Barmer, Jodhpur and other parts of Rajasthan into Kotputli on the way to Shahjahanpur after earlier announcing that he will lead the agitation into Delhi in opposition to the three farm laws brought by the Centre.
"Decision on staying in or leaving the NDA will be taken after the meeting today in Shahjahanpur," Beniwal was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
Speaking to India Today TV, he said, "Despite the farmers' protests, the Narendra Modi government is not withdrawing farm laws because it has 303 MPs. Farmers from 1,200 kilometres away in Rajasthan are moving towards Delhi to be a part of the agitation."
NOT A SUDDEN MOVE
Over the past one month, there had been ample indications that RLP may quit the NDA, especially as the farmers' agitation against the Centre intensified.
It was only last week that Hanuman Beniwal resigned from three parliamentary committees in support of the farmers' protest.
Writing a letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, Hanuman Beniwal said no action was taken on several issues raised by him during the committees, due to which he was disappointed.
"Despite the recommendations and intervention by the Lok Sabha committees, if no action is taken then the importance of such structures in a democratic system loses all justification," he wrote in his letter.
He added, "As the issues remained unheard and due to the farmers' agitation, I am tendering my resignation from the committees."
Hanuman Beniwal was a member of parliamentary committees on industries, petroleum and natural gas, and petitions.
Earlier, despite being a BJP ally, Beniwal had openly supported farmers' call for a 'Bharat Bandh' and demanded that the Centre should withdraw its new farm laws and had asked the government to implement recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission.
Recently he said, "It seems the central government is in the mood to quell the farmers' protest. Hence, our party has decided to lead a march of 2 lakh farmers and youths towards Delhi from Rajasthan on December 26."
In early December, Hanuman Beniwal wrote a letter to Union home minister Amit Shah saying his party may have to "rethink" on continuing its alliance with the BJP if the government refuses to repeal the farm laws.