New Delhi: The BJP’s West Delhi MP Parvesh Verma, son of former chief minister Sahib Singh Verma, has an unique distinction — the Parliamentarian was banned twice within a week for his inflammatory and provocative speeches in the run-up to the Delhi assembly elections.
The EC initially banned him from campaigning on 30 January, along with junior Finance Minister Anurag Thakur, for his speech calling protesters at Shaheen Bagh “rapists and murderers”.
While Verma was banned for four days, Thakur was directed to stay away from the poll campaign for three days over his now-infamous reiterating of the slogan Desh ke gaddaron ko, goli maaro saalon ko (shoot the traitors of our country), which has become synonymous with supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
The EC then banned Verma again, this time for 24 hours on 5 February, for his branding of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal a “terrorist”.
Thakur and Verma weren’t the only BJP offenders, they weren’t even the first — from Delhi candidates and a chief minister to Home Minister Amit Shah, a number of BJP leaders have made provocative speeches as the party made the anti-CAA protests at Shaheen Bagh the focus of its Delhi campaign.
ThePrint lists five of the most provocative speeches in Delhi’s election campaign.
Anurag Thakur: Desh ke gaddaron ko…
At a rally in Rithala on 27 January, Thakur, the junior finance minister, egged on the crowd with “Desh ke gaddaron ko (traitors of the country)”, and the audience responded with “goli maaro saalon ko (shoot them all)”.
The slogan is synonymous with supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act, and is raised in rallies supporting the controversial law.
Thakur made his incendiary remarks days before he was to present the Union Budget on 1 February. A video of the clip went viral on social media.
Shocking: It was a local BJP leader from Delhi back then, its now a front line BJP leader and MoS Finance, Anurag Thakur who is leading the crowd to chant “Desh ke gaddaron ko, Goli maro salon ko”.
Such is the level of politics, ladies and gentlemen! pic.twitter.com/rXZ8M8m6lz
— Prashant Kumar (@scribe_prashant) January 27, 2020
Thakur was sharing the stage with the Union Minister for Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries Giriraj Singh, no stranger to inflammatory remarks himself. The duo were later joined on stage by Home Minister and former BJP president Amit Shah.
Parvesh Verma: Shaheen Bagh protesters will rape sisters, mothers
Parvesh Verma created a stir on 28 January when he drew a parallel between Kashmiri militants and Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protesters at Shaheen Bagh.
With the BJP making Shaheen Bagh the centre of its poll campaign, Verma said the protesters will “enter your house… abduct your sisters and mothers, rape them, kill them the way militants had treated Kashmiri Pandits”.
“Lakhs of people gather there (Shaheen Bagh) and this fire can anytime reach households of Delhi,” he said. “People of Delhi need to think about it and decide. These people will enter your house, will abduct your sisters and mothers, rape them, kill them, that’s why today is the moment.”
The MP also said that all mosques that have come up on government land in his constituency would be “demolished” after the BJP comes to power in Delhi. Earlier, while campaigning, he had said that if the party came to power in Delhi, the protesters in Shaheen Bagh would be cleared in a day.
Parvesh Verma: Kejriwal a terrorist
Verma followed up his Shaheen Bagh hate speech with calling Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal “a terrorist”.
“Arvind Kejriwal jaise natwarlal, Kejriwal jaise atankwadi is desh mein chhupe baithe hain (Natwarlals and terrorists like Kejriwal are hiding in this country,” Verma said at a rally in Madipur on 29 January.
Sources in the AAP had told ThePrint that the party hopes to draw mileage from the remarks just as Prime Minister Narendra Modi had done in 2014, when Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar had made a “chai-wala” barb at him
Yogi Adityanath: …goli ki bhasha samjayega
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath joined the poll campaign on 2 February, when he addressed two rallies in the national capital.
While the crux of his speeches revolved around Shaheen Bagh, biryani, bullets, Article 370 and Pakistan, it was his “boli ki bhasha nahi manenga toh goli ke bhasha samjayega (those who don’t understand words, will surely understand the language of the bullet)” that was particularly inflammatory.
For one, Adityanath’s Uttar Pradesh Police had been accused of using excessive force to crack down on the protests against the citizenship act in the state. Around 19 people were killed due to alleged police action on the protesters, with police also accused of entering homes and damaging property belonging to Muslims.
Adiyanath had also accused Kejriwal of instigating the protesters and feeding them biryani. “(Arvind) Kejriwal and his mandali (group) are trying to fan unrest and anarchy by tacitly supporting the Shaheen Bagh protests,” he said.
“These protests are nothing but a way for some section of people to show their objections against the scrapping of Article 370 and the construction of Lord Ram’s grand temple in Ayodhya,” he added.
“Kejriwal likes to feed the protesters in Shaheen Bagh biryani, not to work for the people of Delhi.”
Amit Shah: ‘Make Shaheen Bagh protesters run away’
Amit Shah set the tone for the BJP campaign in the Delhi elections, when addressing the party’s social media volunteers on 25 January, he said, “Press the button of the lotus (BJP symbol) so hard that the current makes the Shaheen Bagh protestors run away on the very evening of 8 February.”
He kept up the attack on the Shaheen Bagh protests, when addressing a rally in Sadr Bazaar on 3 February, Shah urged the voters to give a befitting reply to all those who raised slogans like “Jinnah wali azadi” at Shaheen Bagh.
He also mentioned the ‘tukde-tukde’ gang, saying his government acted swiftly in putting JNU student leaders Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid behind bars for raising anti-national slogans (in a 2016 sedition case).
“Why were AAP and Congress against Ram Mandir? Because you are not their vote bank. Who is their vote bank?” Shah asked the crowd. The crowd yelled back, “Shaheen Bagh”.