New Delhi: Encroachment and illegal construction should not be viewed through the lens of religion, Delhi BJP president Adesh Gupta has said, in response to criticism of the BJP-run civic bodies’ anti-encroachment drives in Jahangirpuri and Shaheen Bagh.
“Country first, Delhi first and politics later,” Gupta said in an exclusive interview with ThePrint Monday.
“When encroachment does not see religion, why should action against illegal constructions be viewed with that lens? I believe that those who see it as an issue of specific communities being targeted, are only doing so for their vote bank politics,” Gupta said.
Last month, bulldozers rolled down the streets of Delhi’s Jahangirpuri, demolishing what the North Delhi Municipal Corporation termed “illegal constructions”. Similar action was initiated by the South Delhi civic body Monday in Shaheen Bagh, which made headlines in 2019-20 after it became the centre of anti-CAA/NRC protests.
Gupta spoke also spoke about the arrest of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) functionary Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga, and the BJP’s game plan for the Delhi municipal elections, which have been postponed.
‘Rohingya, Bangladeshis to blame for riots’
Gupta — who had written to Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and the chiefs of the three civic bodies demanding removal of “illegal constructions” — said the anti-encroachment drive in Jahangirpuri was the “seventh” in Delhi this year.
“Illegal constructions of a Gupta and a Jha were also taken down,” he said, adding that by the time bulldozers went to Shaheen Bagh, similar anti-encroachment drives had been carried out in 40 areas across the national capital.
“Those who encroached, Rohingya and Bangladeshis, they have no religion. Whenever riots happen in Delhi, Rohingya and Bangladeshis — infiltrators — are involved in it. There is no doubt about it. These people work to spoil the atmosphere of Delhi,” he alleged.
Gupta even accused the Delhi government of instructing AAP MLAs to assist those he refers to as “infiltrators” by providing them facilities and getting their Aadhaar cards made.
Asked if the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) could soon be implemented in Delhi, he said the possibility cannot be ruled out.
Kejriwal ‘super CM of Punjab’
The Delhi BJP president also alleged that Kejriwal is acting as the “Super CM of Punjab”, attacking him over the arrest of Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga.
“This is Kejriwal’s dictatorship. It has become clear after Bagga’s arrest that Kejriwal is using Punjab Police as a tool. At the time of his arrest, Bagga was not even allowed to wear a turban. Bagga’s arrest has revealed Kejriwal’s Tughlaqi bent of mind,” Gupta claimed.
BJYM functionary Bagga, a vocal critic of Kejriwal, was arrested by the Punjab Police from his home in Delhi’s Janakpuri last Friday for “making provocative statements on social media”. The police team escorting him to Punjab was intercepted by Haryana Police and made to hand over his custody on the basis of an FIR filed by Delhi Police, accusing Punjab Police of “abducting” Bagga.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court Tuesday granted Bagga protection from arrest till 6 July, while allowing the Punjab Police to question him in connection with the charges.
BJP’s preparations for Delhi civic elections
Asked about AAP’s allegations that the BJP has been trying to “delay” the Delhi civic elections, Adesh Gupta said the polls will take place as soon as the delimitation process is complete in accordance with the Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill passed in both houses of Parliament last month.
“The BJP is going to win the Delhi MCD elections and the Aam Aadmi Party is nowhere in the race. The Delhi government made many promises but did not fulfil any of them. Everyone knows this now,” he said.
Gupta said the Delhi BJP is planning a campaign to highlight the “failures” of Arvind Kejriwal’s government, including the AAP’s much-touted education model.
“There are 80 children in each class. Education cannot be improved just by making 10 per cent of the schools better. The standard of education in Delhi is very poor. If Delhi’s government schools are so good, then why don’t politicians and officials educate their children in them?” he wondered.
(Edited by Amrtansh Arora)