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‘Hurt at treatment meted out to farmers; won’t join Congress’ | India News

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Claiming that the three farm laws were enacted without taking farmers into confidence, Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP) leader and Lok Sabha MP from Nagaur in Rajasthan Hanuman Beniwal, says his fight will continue in favour of agitating farmers. A day after walking out of NDA, Beniwal spoke to TOI’s Akhilesh Singh and said he has quit NDA but is not going to join any other political alliance as Congress has been his main rival. Excerpts:
You won from Nagaur as NDA candidate. What forced you to quit the alliance?
When farm bills were discussed in Parliament, I couldn’t participate as I was down with Covid. PM and home minister keep saying that NDA is a family but no one spoke to us about them. I repeatedly said that all three bills should’ve been passed with the consent of farmers. In a meeting with Shah recently, I raised this issue but nothing followed. I was left with no other alternative but to quit NDA. Let me clarify that I am not going to join Congress. I am hurt at the treatment meted out to farmers. It was self-respect which forced me to walk out of the alliance.
So the BJP leaders were unable to convince you?
Yes I had a meeting with home minister Amit Shah, who gave me assurance to initiate dialogue with the farmers and resolve their grievances. That did not happen. I travelled through 17 districts in Rajasthan, and found that farmers are angry. Soon BJP will be able to feel the wrath of the farmers. Swaminathan Commission’s report should be implemented and the three laws should be repealed. I have no other agenda. I will fight panchayat elections alone in Rajasthan.
There wasn’t much opposition in Rajasthan to the three farm laws. So why this big step?
In Rajasthan, BJP leaders from the farming community are far removed from the real tillers of the land. The so-called farmer leaders in Congress are deadwood. They tried to stage agitations but those fizzled out. I have solemnly declared that I am behind Punjab and Haryana farmers.
What is your next course of action?
We are going to continue our relay sit-in at Shahjahanpur border. Everyday 2,000-3,000 people will sit. Yesterday there were 60,000-70,000 people here with us. The youth were very angry. We counselled them and sent them back for now. The government should be more sensitive. We stopped the youth yesterday because they wanted to go to Delhi and if that had happened, the law and order situation would’ve been in crisis. But the government should take this as a final ultimatum and end the deadlock.
Is a return to the NDA possible?
I have said before that I am not going to Congress. I joined NDA upon the insistence of Modi and Shah. This alliance was not easy for me as I had massive differences with regional BJP leaders like Vasundhara Raje. Still, we joined the alliance and played a key role in winning all 25 seats from Rajasthan. I haven’t yet thought if we will return or not but our fight right now is for farmers and we will continue our struggle steadfastly.

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