BJP inducting Shaheen Bagh protesters part of election plan, says AAP
Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Monday attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for admitting to its fold some people who took part in the long-running protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in the Shaheen Bagh area which, it alleged, had been planned by the BJP to polarise the electorate ahead of the February assembly elections.
AAP alleged that the Shaheen Bagh protest was “pre-planned, scripted and strategised” by the BJP. to win more seats in the February 8 elections. It also accused the BJP of engineering the communal violence later that month in northeast Delhi that left 53 people dead and around 400 injured.
At a digital press conference, AAP’s chief spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj questioned the BJP, which heads the Central government, and Delhi Police, which reports to the Centre, as to how they allowed the Shaheen Bagh protest to continue for 101 days when other protests in the city -- by farmers, students, doctors or the differently abled -- are not allowed to last even three hours.
“It was because the BJP planned and executed the Shaheen Bagh protests that its vote percentage rose from 18% to 38% in the recently concluded Delhi elections. The BJP used the protest to polarise the north-east Delhi region and it won some seats there as well. After that, it engineered a riot there. Today, the people who raised anti-national slogans or pro-Pakistan slogans or talked about dividing India during the protests are part of the BJP,” Bhardwaj alleged.
The BJP denied AAP’s allegations and said the party led by Arvind Kejriwal was making baseless claims to garner support from the minority communities ahead of the municipal elections in the capital. due to take place sometime in April 2022. The last municipal elections in Delhi took place on April 23, 2017 and the BJP managed to win a majority in all three civic bodies.
“The AAP has misled people in Delhi, especially the Muslim community, for its political gains. Their allegations have no meaning as the Muslim community supports the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Now, with the municipal elections scheduled in 2022, the AAP is nervous about losing its support base in the community,” said Delhi BJP chief.Adesh Gupta.
AAP’s attack came a day after the BJP announced that several Muslim residents of Shaheen Bagh, which was the epicentre of anti-CAA protests for months, have joined the party. While taking them into the party’s fold on Sunday, the Delhi BJP chief had said it was a result of the Prime Minister’s efforts to reach out to every section of the society and end the triple talaq practice.
At his press conference, Bhardwaj also mentioned inflammatory comments allegedly made by BJP MPs Parvesh Verma and Anurag Thakur during the party’s Delhi assembly election campaign. In the elections, the AAP won 63 of the 70 assembly seats and the BJP the remaining sevens.
“On December 11, 2019, the Indian Parliament passed the citizenship amendment bill and on December 14, a group of 10 women blocked a portion of the Delhi-Noida highway. The protest was technically happening only at the GD Birla Road, but the Delhi police closed all the connecting roads and kept it shut for 101 days giving a harrowing time to lakhs of commuters. The high court had also noted that it was completely a law and order issue. But still, the police did not do anything and remained a silent spectator of these violations,” the AAP said in a statement.