‘I am a devout Hindu and not what the BJP is portraying’: Delhi CM Kejriwal
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday trained his guns on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), saying that the party’s entire campaign in Delhi revolves around the ongoing anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests in the Shaheen Bagh neighbourhood and expressed dismay over the saffron party’s attempts to portray him as “anti-Hindu”.
In a town hall address with Hindi news channel News18 India, Kejriwal identified himself as a “devout Hindu” when the anchor asked him a question on his religiosity.
“I don’t know why they (BJP) have been trying to portray me anti-Hindu. I am a devout Hindu and a follower of Hanuman,” the Delhi CM said.
Asked if he could recite the Hanuman Chalisa, Kejriwal sang a hymn.
In another town hall address with Hindi news channel News-24, Kejriwal said, “The BJP has designed its entire election campaign around the Shaheen Bagh protest. It is because they have no real issue for the Delhi elections… Hence, they are calling me a terrorist… It was the duty of the BJP leadership to talk to the protesters and get the road blockade cleared.”
When asked why he did not visit the Shaheen Bagh protest siite or the Jamia Millia and Jawaharlal Nehru University campuses after students were attacked, Kejrwal threw the ball on the other side of the court saying, “Law and order in Delhi comes under the Union government and it was the primary responsibility of Union home minister Amit Shah. I could not have done anything by physically going there.”
When asked by the anchor, Kejriwal sang hymns from the Hanuman Chalisa once again.
Several streets of Delhi turned into a sea of white-and-blue as hundreds of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supporters joined Kejriwal in road shows organised in Dwarka, Palam, Kondli, Trilokpuri and Patparganj, where he stood in support of deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia.
While the chief minister did not speak at the road shows, his party supporters continued their door-to-door campaign taking on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over their West Delhi MP Parvesh Verma’s “terrrorist” remark targeting Kejriwal.
In his road shows, Kejriwal waved at people from the back of an open-roof vehicle, standing next to the party’s candidates from the respective constituencies — Vinay Mishra (Dwarka), Bhavna Gaur (Palam), Kuldeep Kumar (Kondli), Rohit Kumar Mehraulia (Trilokpuri) and Sisodia (Patparganj). Except Gaur and Sisodia, all other are fresh names in the party’s list of candidates for the 2020 assembly polls.
On Monday, the AAP released a video filming relatives of Delhi Police and Delhi Fire Services officials, who died in the line of duty, speaking in support of Kejriwal and condemning Verma’s remark.
Meanwhile, the party’s Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh upped his attack on the BJP challenging the party to get Kejriwal arrested if they could prove that he is a “terrorist”. Singh’s comments came after the BJP’s west Delhi MP Parvesh Verma called the CM a terrorist during the poll campaign – a remark that led to a crackdown by the election commission which imposed a temporary ban on Verma from campaigning.
Union minister Prakash Javadekar made a similar remark on Monday.
Singh further said that the party is likely to release its poll manifesto on Tuesday. The BJP and Congress have released their manifestos in the run-up to the February 8 assembly elections.
In the next three days, the party will conduct as many as 15,000 local meetings as part of its poll campaign even as the road shows and public addressed by top leaders will continue, Singh added.
He further said, “Also, as part of the final phase of the campaign, 5,000 volunteers will be deployed in each of Delhi’s 70 constituencies and they will individually reach out to at least three persons who had voted
for the BJP in the general elections.”