195/288 Seats ((145 Seats to Win)
|Wins + Leads||133||31||31||18||13|
Hanuman Beniwal Joins Hands With BJP as Gehlot Charm Fails to Bring Jat Leader on Congress Side
The alliance was sealed after the jat leader arrived at the BJP office in Jaipur on Thursday morning and met the saffron party’s Rajasthan election in charge Prakash Javadekar.
File photo of RLP founder Hanuman Beniwal.
New Delhi: In a major blow to the Congress in Rajasthan, the BJP has joined hands with Hanuman Beniwal’s Rashtriya Loktantrik Party to woo the influential Jat community in the state.
The alliance was sealed after the jat leader arrived at the BJP office in Jaipur on Thursday morning and met the saffron party’s Rajasthan election in charge Prakash Javadekar. The development comes as a setback for the Congress, which had earlier tried to bring Beniwal on its side.
Sources told News18 the BJP was hopeful of this tie-up, which is why it had not announced all its candidates in the desert state. The party had released an initial list of candidates for 19 out of a total 25 Lok Sabha seats in the state.
Beniwal’s RLP is likely to get two seats - Nagaur and Barmer.
Beniwal will contest the election with support from the BJP from Nagaur. He is also a sitting legislator from Khinvsar in Nagaur district. Congress has put up Jyoti Mirdha from the seat.
"I will fight elections from Nagaur with support from BJP and I will also campaign across the country for the party," Beniwal said.
The Congress, too, had sought out Beniwal hoping to win Jat support. Rajasthan Chief Minister and Congress leader Ashok Gehlot had twice held talks with Beniwal last week, but the two parties could not reach an agreement.
Beniwal, however, had denied that Congress with Congress were over poll issues and claimed his meeting with Gehlot was over farmer issues only. After his alliance with BJP, Beniwal said that he had not approached Congress for any alliance, rather it was the other way around.
It is believed that Beniwal had asked for seven seats from Congress, a request that was denied. Gehlot was only ready to cede three seats to the Jat leader.
Beniwal had floated his own party, RLP, as an alternative to Congress and BJP in the state ahead of Assembly elections in December last year. The RLP won three seats in state elections in December — Khinvsar, Merta and Bhopalgarh — largely due to Beniwal's appeal among Jats in the region and his popularity as a farmer leader.
Even though BJP lost Assembly polls in the state in December, largely due to anti-incumbency against the Vasundhara Raje government, the saffron party remains strong in the state. The face of the election for BJP in the state will remain Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who remains popular in the state despite the people’s disillusionment with local BJP leaders.
In 2014, BJP, riding the Modi wave, had swept the desert state and won all 25 Lok Sabha seats on offer. Rajasthan goes to poll in the fourth and fifth phase of elections on April 29 and May 6.
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