RLP leader Hanuman Beniwal seen here with BJP leader Prakash Javadekar. (Photo: Twitter/@BJP4Rajasthan)
The BJP on Thursday forged an alliance with Hanuman Beniwal's Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP) in Rajasthan. He will contest from the Nagaur constituency. Beniwal was a former BJP member who had quit the party because of his differences with the then chief minister Vasundhara Raje and had formed the RLP. This development comes as a blow to the Congress in the state, who was in talks with the Jat leader for an alliance. Beniwal sealed the alliance after he arrived at the BJP office in Jaipur on Thursday morning and met the saffron party’s Rajasthan election in charge Prakash Javadekar.
It was earlier reported that the Congress had tried to get Beniwal to support it in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, but failed to reach an understanding with the Jat leader criticising the Congress, saying it was in a weak position. Beniwal also hit out at chief minister Ashok Gehlot’s son Vaibhav and former Congress MP Jyoti Mirdha, saying neither would win their seats.
According to Beniwal, he enjoys the support of the Jat community and this will have an effect on at least 17 seats in Rajasthan. He is also a sitting legislator from Khinvsar in the Nagaur district and his party is also likely to contest from Barmer. The Congress has fielded Jyoti Mirdha from the seat. Jyoti is the granddaughter of late Nathuram Mirdha, a prominent Congress politician of his time.
The Hanuman Beniwal-led RLP had won 3 seats with a vote share of 2.4% in the 2018 Rajasthan Assembly elections. The BJP, which had received the backing of 38.8% voters, could have trounced the Congress with the RLP in the state polls as their combined vote share was 41.2% (BJP: 38.8% plus RLP: 2.4%).
The BJP, however, was leading in 13 Lok Sabha seats if we analyse the vote shares of the parties in the 2018 Assembly elections. The Congress was ahead in 12 seats. Rajasthan sends 25 representatives to the lower house of Parliament.
Upon forging the alliance, Beniwal said that the Congress has only looted the country while in power. By allying with the BJP, they will work towards saving the country. RLP workers, from today, will work towards making Narendra Modi the prime minister again.