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BJP, RLP alliance showing signs of fissures

RLP convener Hanuman Beniwal at a press conference in Jaipur.

RLP convener Hanuman Beniwal at a press conference in Jaipur.  

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Rashtriya Loktantrik Party convener says the party’s doors were ‘open for an alliance’

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s alliance in Rajasthan with the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP) has started showing signs of fissures ahead of the panchayat elections in the State, as the alliance — formed hurriedly before the 2019 Lok Sabha election — has failed to deliver the desired results. The BJP, which contested last month’s municipal elections alone, could not perform well.

The RLP, which did not fight the local body polls, has announced its plan to contest the upcoming panchayat elections all over the State. RLP convener and Nagaur MP Hanuman Beniwal said on Tuesday that the party’s doors were “open for an alliance” to challenge the ruling Congress.

After the BJP-RLP alliance’s victory at one of the two Assembly seats which went to by-elections in October this year, the BJP has been working hard to strengthen its core support base in the urban centres.

Mr. Beniwal’s younger brother Narayan Beniwal had won Nagaur district’s Khinvsar Assembly seat with the BJP’s support.

Ms. Raje’s rival

As the credit for victory went to Mr. Hanuman Beniwal, a known arch rival of former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, he launched into a tirade against Ms. Raje and accused her and one of her close confidantes of helping the Congress candidates in the bypolls, because of which his brother won with a thin margin.

Mr. Beniwal, a Jat leader and former BJP MLA, had floated the RLP a few months before the 2018 State Assembly election after leaving the BJP following his differences with Ms. Raje. The RLP convener’s latest stance may create new difficulties for the BJP in its relations with the politically influential Jat community.

Mr. Beniwal said the RLP had entered into an alliance with the BJP at the central level after accepting the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“The alliance continued in the Assembly bypoll for our mutual benefit. But its future will become uncertain if the BJP leaders hobnobbing with the Congress in the power game for the 2023 Assembly election get prominence in the party,” he said.

Jat community

The BJP leadership is also embarrassed over an impression created in the political circles that the appointment of senior Jat leader Satish Poonia as State president after the death of Madan Lal Saini earlier this year has failed to mobilise the Jat community in its favour. On the other hand, the RLP’s support base has expanded in the Jat-dominated belts of Shekhawati and Marwar in the State.

Mr. Beniwal has announced the RLP’s State executive and appointed Dalit leader and Bhopalgarh MLA Pukhraj Garg as the State president, Rajasthan University’s Randeep Singh Chaudhary as the Yuva Morcha president, and Spardha Chaudhary, who contested the 2018 Assembly poll from Phulera, as president of the women wing of the party.

Mr. Beniwal also criticised the Congress for opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, while alleging that the party was more concerned about its “vote bank”. He said the people of all communities had extended support to Mr. Modi for his decision to give citizenship to the persecuted minorities from the neighbouring countries.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2020 10:00:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bjp-rlp-alliance-showing-signs-of-fissures/article30392193.ece

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