Prashant Kanojia
Prashant Kanojia

'Politics of Communalism has a Shorter Shelf Life...': Read Why RLD Leader Resigned from the Party

Prashant Kanojia elaborated on his future plans, stating, "I intend to remain active in politics, but I will not align myself with Right-wing politics. I will carefully assess my options before making a decision."

New Delhi: Journalist-turned-politician Prashant Kanojia has resigned from the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) after the party joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which is governing the Centre.

He made the announcement through social media on April 14.

Kanojia said if he were to align himself with the ideology he originally aimed to "combat", there would be "no purpose" of his politics.

The RLD has a strong influence in western Uttar Pradesh, particularly among Jat voters. In the 2022 Assembly elections, it had formed an alliance with the Samajwadi Party (SP), contesting 33 seats and emerging victorious in nine.

Asked if RLD chief Jayant Chaudhary conceded defeat of his secular politics and therefore returned to the NDA fold, Kanojia said, “He is largely a secular person."

To cement his argument, he said when the entire political discourse of western Uttar Pradesh changed post 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots, Chaudhary continued with his secular politics without caring about potential loss of Jat votes.

The decision was not so easy. The Jat-dominated region also has a sizable population of Muslims, OBCs (combined) and Dalits. Western Uttar Pradesh (from Saharanpur to Agra) has 27 Lok Sabha seats. Farmers’ issues rule the roost in this agrarian belt. 

Of the three seats it contested in the region in the 2019 elections, the RLD had failed to win even one even though it had fought in an alliance with the SP and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

The BJP had won the highest 19 seats in the sugarcane belt, while the SP and the BSP secured 4 seats each.

Jayant had lost the election from his ancestral constituency of Bagpat. 

Similarly, his party, which had fought on eight seats, could not open its account in the 2014 polls as well. Facing defeats in the consecutive two Lok Sabha elections, Jayant perhaps wants to revive his politics by allying with the BJP.

It had won five of the seven Lok Sabha seats it contested in 2009 in ties with the saffron party, registering the party’s best ever parliamentary poll performance in terms of the number of seats.

Asked since the RLD performed extremely well in 2009 elections as a coalition partner of the NDA, did Jayant think that he has a future in politics only with the BJP, Kanojia dismissed the notion - without specifying any reason behind the move.

“I do not believe the statement. If that would have been the case, the 2022 Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh when the party fought against the BJP along with the SP and the BSP, it had increased its tally from zero to 9. The elections were fought in Narendra Modi’s name too. If BJP’s support would have been the turning point for the party, the results of 2022 assembly elections would have been different,” he told The Mooknayak.

Asked then what compelled Jayant to make the surprise move and if it is a defeat of inclusive politics, he said, "I don't know. Its for him to answer. No such proposal was ever discussed in the party's national working committee meetings. As far as the second part of the question is concerned, I believe that any form of politics fought within the vacuum of communalism and regionalism will always have a shorter shelf life, even when it does not feel like it."

To add on to his statement, he mentioned Uddhav Thackeray, saying the Shiv Sena leader pursued politics on the lines of language and region. "Now everybody can see the fate of the politician and his party," he added.

The Mooknayak delved deeper into the issue of politicians with idealistic beliefs changing their stance, sparking further inquiry into the matter.

To this, Kanojia responded, “Any person who joins politics without any political backing or background generally does not come from a place of greed. But once a person enters the arena, the aspirations of themselves and the people surrounding them also increase. Also, one needs to understand that being with the ruling party opens a person to certain political entitlements. In Uttar Pradesh, an individual who chooses not to run for elections under the BJP banner but continues to display the party's flag can still avail numerous opportunities. These opportunities may include gaining access to tenders and being appointed as a board member in a company, among other possibilities.”

“Unfortunately, I am not one of these people,” he remarked.

He further talked about his future course of action. “I will stay in politics, but I won’t go into Right-wing politics. I will look into my options and make an informed decision,” he said.

Kanojia took to X (formally Twitter) where he posted in Hindi, saying, "I, Prashant Jagdish Kanojia, hereby tender my resignation from the position of Rashtriya Samajwadi and from the organization of Rashtriya Lok Dal.”

“We cannot extend our support to the BJP and RSS, entities that are dividing India and undermining the Constitution of Baba Saheb. In Narendra Modi, I do not perceive the revered Chaudhary Charan Singh ji, but rather a dictatorial autocrat.”

Taking a dig at the centre’s response to the farmers movement, he said, “the provider of sustenance is the deity of the land, and opposing a religion that goes against this divine principle is to stand in opposition.”

He praised the party president by saying, “I extend my gratitude to RLD President Jayant Chaudhary ji, who entrusted me with significant responsibilities at a very young age and encouraged me to play a crucial role as the national president of caste and tribe. I have learned a great deal from Chaudhary Saheb, and his affection and respect towards me will always be cherished. I wish him all the best.

“The party's legal counsel has also shown me immense love and respect. The people of Western Uttar Pradesh have showered me with affection.”

“I cannot lend my support to the BJP, which is detrimental to the interests of the poor farmers and laborers of our country. I cannot witness the selling out of Muzaffarnagar! I am reminded of the words of future generations, questioning why I remained silent when the country was being torn apart, and innocent people were being oppressed by the government machinery. India is my homeland, and I will not allow it to fall into the hands of Modi and the BJP.”

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