Delhi assembly election 2020: ‘Voting for India, Constitution’, says Shaheen Bagh voter amid long queues
Long queues of people were seen in Shaheen Bagh, the centre stage of the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) for almost three months now, as they turned out to cast their vote for the Delhi assembly elections on Saturday.
The colony in southeast Delhi has been thrust into the national spotlight as protesters have blocked a major road for months, demanding the repeal of the contentious citizenship act with women in the forefront of the agitation.
Security forces kept a tight watch across all the five polling stations in Shaheen Bagh, which have been declared “critical” amid two incidents of shooting in the area within a week.
ALSO WATCH | Delhi: Long voter queues at Shaheen Bagh, tight security at CAA protest hub
Police will also use aerial cameras if there is a problem in the law and order situation, senior officials have said.
“I am voting for India and its Constitution. We are citizens of India,” a woman said while waiting to vote outside a polling booth at the Shaheen Public School, according to news agency ANI.
The ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has fielded Amanatullah, the current legislator, against the Congress’ Parvez Hashmi and Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) Brahm Singh Bidhuri.
The election campaign was a bitter battle between the AAP and BJP as the ruling party at the Centre projected Shaheen Bagh as one of its main poll planks.
The BJP leaders, led by Union home minister Amit Shah, focused on Shaheen Bagh, attempting to discredit the protesters and called them “anti-national” in character. Some even called Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal a “terrorist”, and accused protesters of being rapists.
Some even asserted that the process of clearing Shaheen Bagh will begin once the BJP comes to power after the Delhi assembly polls.
It blamed the AAP of spreading anarchy and violence and causing inconvenience to the city’s residents.
In turn, Arvind Kejriwal accused the BJP of polarising the issues and vitiating the electoral scene.
The AAP also talked about on local governance issues and its track record in the past five years” such as fixing state-run schools and healthcare in the city of more than 16 million people.
The ruling party on Delhi also focussed on the provision of electricity and water supply and subsidised rates and free public transport for women. It has also promised to focus on pollution, provision of clean water and cleanliness in its next term if elected to power.
Protests have erupted across the country against CAA under which illegal migrants, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians, from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, who entered India on or before 2015 will be eligible for Indian citizenship.
Critics say the law discriminates against Muslims as only non-Muslims from the three neighbouring countries can become Indian citizens.