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Opinion

RLP joins the protest and leaves the NDA over new agricultural laws

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The Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP) announced on Saturday its decision to withdraw from the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) due to recently enacted farm laws.

“We are resigning from the NDA. Nothing is above the pride of the country’s farmers, ”RLP chief and Nagaur MP Hanuman Beniwal said at a farmers’ rally in Alwar’s Shahjahanpur, after starting a march towards Delhi in support of farmers who have been protesting against contentious laws.

In September, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) had resigned from the NDA due to the laws of the three farms. Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, have been camping on Delhi’s borders since November 26, demanding the repeal of these laws.

“I ask the central government not to play with llamas. Any government that has dared to go against the farmers has been dethroned. Because of these laws, the agricultural mandis will end, why didn’t the government consult the farmers? Due to this act the raj of the terrestrial mafias will increase. I don’t understand why the government is not repealing the laws, ”Beniwal said at the protest site.

The Center has maintained that the laws have been enacted for the benefit of farmers and has offered to provide written guarantees that the minimum support price (MSP) will be maintained. The farmers, however, rejected the Center’s offer and demanded that the laws be removed.

Beniwal was elected as a member of the BJP MLA in Rajasthan for the first time in 2008, but later left the party. He won the 2013 assembly elections as an Independent and formed the RLP before the 2018 assembly elections. His party allied with the BJP for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. He had resigned from three parliamentary committees last week in support of farmer agitation.

Ties between the BJP and the RLP were strained earlier this month after the ruling party in the Center endorsed an Independiente for the post of head of a local body in place of the RLP candidate. Beniwal at the time said they were reconsidering their alliance with the BJP.

The BJP downplayed Beniwal’s departure from the alliance and questioned the motive behind his move to leave the NDA. “Previously, he had supported farm laws, but now, just to gain political mileage, he has resigned from the alliance,” said BJP spokesman Mukesh Pareekh.

Former MP leaves BJP

Former MP Harinder Singh Khalsa resigned from the BJP on Saturday accusing his leadership of having a nonchalant attitude towards protesting farmers. Khalsa, 73, had won the Fatehgarh Sahib Lok Sabha seat in 2014 as a candidate for the Aam Aadmi Party, but had been suspended from the AAP for his alleged anti-party activities. He had joined the BJP in 2019.

(With PTI inputs)

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