Rajasthan Polls: Former BJP Leader Hanuman Beniwal Launches New Party to Take on Raje Govt

Independent MLA and former BJP leader, Hanuman Beniwal, on Monday launched Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP) and claimed that the new political party will serve as an alternative to the ‘corrupt’ BJP and Congress in the December 7 Assembly election in Rajasthan.

Speaking at a rally in Jaipur, the prominent Jat leader who represents Khinvsar constituency of Nagaur district, also announced an alliance with former BJP leader Ghanshyam Tiwari and his Bharat Vahini Party (BVP) for the upcoming elections.

Tiwari, a six-time legislator, quit the BJP in June after accusing Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje Scindhia of corruption. Currently an MLA from Sanganer where he also won elections in 2003 and 2008, Tiwari had also called the Raje government ‘autocratic,’ before forming BVP in July. “The party will emerge as the third front,” he had then said.

Beniwal invoked similar sentiments at his rally on Monday and said that RLP and BVP would form a strong third front. A BJP candidate in 2008 state elections, Beniwal was suspended from the party before the 2013 elections after he too accused the Raje government of corruption. He went on to defeat his rival BJP candidate on the Khinvsar seat by a margin of 23,020 votes as an independent candidate.

The focus of RLP, Beniwal said, will be on farmer welfare, solving the water crisis, generating employment and sanctioning a monthly stipend of Rs 10,000 for the unemployed. He also gave assurance of an improved Minimum Support Price for the farmers.

Beniwal claimed he would send Vasundhra Raje Scindhia and Congress leader Ashok Gehlot to jail if he got a chance to form government in Rajasthan. “We will work against corruption,” Beniwal said, adding that his party would work to replace either the BJP or Congress as the number 2 party in the State.

While Beniwal and Tiwari said they are open to an alliance with other smaller regional parties to strengthen the ‘third front’, a source told  that an alliance with Loktantrik Morcha — a united front of Samajwadi Party, Janata Dal (Secular) and Rashtriya Lok Dal — is already in the works.
The BVP and RLP, in alliance with the Loktantrik Morcha, would make for the ‘third front’ in the State and look to assimilate votes from different sections and regions.

While Beniwal is looking to please the Jat voters of West Rajasthan who have traditionally leaned towards the Congress, Tiwari is banking on Brahman votes in the East. An alliance with Loktantrik Morcha could gather the scattered votes, the source said.

Beniwal declared ‘bottle’ to be his party symbol and said it represents a water bottle and is not to be mistaken for a bottle of alcohol. He said the symbol was chosen to signify the water crisis in the State. “With water bottle as our symbol, we will quench the thirst of the people,” Beniwal said.

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