Drop Anurag Thakur, Parvesh Verma from star campaigners’ list, EC orders BJP
Pravesh Verma had alleged that protesters gathered at Shaheen Bagh would enter homes, rape and kill and claimed that this can be prevented if the BJP is elected in the February 8 polls.Updated: Jan 29, 2020 14:35 IST
The Election Commission on Wednesday ordered the BJP to drop Union minister Anurag Thakur and West Delhi lawmaker Parvesh Verma from its list of star campaigners for Delhi elections after the two politicians were accused of using provocative language.
Verma had alleged that protesters gathered at Shaheen Bagh would enter homes, rape and kill and claimed that this can be prevented if the BJP is elected in the February 8 polls.
Thakur, on the other hand, was sent notice by the poll body for his election speech where he was heard saying to a gathering, “desh ke gaddaron ko…” leading to the people to reply in unison “...goli maro s****n ko”. Thakur was campaigning for the party’s Rithala candidate Manish Chaudhary.
The comments were seen in sequence with a string of controversial comments and, rivals allege, communally divisive rhetoric that the BJP has used over the past week in the Delhi election campaign.
Analysts have said the BJP’s turn to divisive rhetoric is an attempt to consolidate Hindus in an election where it was widely perceived to start with a disadvantage because of the AAP’s contention of providing better governance.
The BJP also does not have a CM face against the incumbent, Arvind Kejriwal, and is fighting the election in the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
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Harish Khurana, a spokesperson of the BJP’s Delhi unit and son of former chief minister Madan Lal Khurana, defended the union minister, saying that it was the crowd that uttered the inciteful words and not Thakur.
“If you see the video, Thakur did not even say the words. So, in a way, he should not be held responsible. The slogan was not invented by him; it has lasted for years,” said Khurana.
The Election Commission didn’t buy the argument to play down the minister’s role.
A BJP candidate Kapil Mishra, too, have whipped up hateful speeches. Mishra was pulled up by the Election Commission for inciteful comments such as “Delhi mein chhote chhote Pakistan bane”, “Shaheen Bagh mein Pak ki entry”, etc. The election commission gagged him for 48 hours and an FIR was filed against him.
Khurana, however, said that the hate exists on both sides. “More than about being right or wrong, one must see who started it. There were slogans of ‘Jinnah-wali azaadi’ at Shaheen Bagh. BJP leaders were told that they need to take permission to enter Shaheen Bagh, not to mention the inconvenience that has been caused to people,” said Khurana.