New Delhi: In their election rallies in the national capital Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath prominently raised some issues without fail — Shaheen Bagh, tukde-tukde gang, anarchy, national security, Article 370, Ram temple and anti-CAA protests.
The three star campaigners of the BJP addressed rallies in different parts of Delhi urging the voters to elect their party’s government.
While Modi termed the ongoing anti-CAA protests in Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh, Jamia Nagar and Seelampur as a “political conspiracy”, Shah said slogans like “Jinnah wali azaadi” have been raised at Shaheen Bagh.
Adityanath said the protests against the contentious new citizenship law are merely an excuse for people to vent their anger against the scrapping of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and the Supreme Court’s approval for the construction of Ram temple at Ayodhya.
The BJP had initially countered the Arvind Kejriwal government in the Union territory of Delhi on issues of governance and failure to implement several schemes of the Centre.
However, in the past 10 days, the party has tried to shift the narrative completely to the anti-CAA protests, especially the one taking place in Shaheen Bagh. The move came after many in the party received feedback that their campaign had started to pick up since leaders started focusing on Shaheen Bagh and Jamia.
Modi’s conspiracy angle
On Monday, PM Narendra Modi addressed his second rally in the capital after launching the party’s campaign in December.
“These people had doubted the ability of our forces during surgical strikes. Do Delhiites want such people in power? They are the same people who support those who want to break India into pieces,” Modi said at the rally in east Delhi’s Karkardooma.
“There was a time when Delhi used to witness frequent bomb blasts. These are the same people who declared Batla House encounter fake. They are the same people who are till date saving the tukde-tukde people.”
He added, “Whether it is Seelampur, Jamia or Shaheen Bagh, protests held over the past several days regarding the Citizenship Amendment Bill is not just coincidence. This is a conspiracy. There is a political design behind this that has plans to destroy harmony in the country.”
He also claimed that if the ongoing protests in Jamia and Shaheen Bagh were against CAA, they would have ended by now after the assurances by the Modi government.
“However, both AAP and Congress are only provoking people. Constitution and Tricolour are being kept in front and attention is being diverted from the real conspiracy,” alleged the prime minister.
Mentioning Shaheen Bagh, the 2008 Batla House encounter (in which five alleged terrorists were encountered) and Modi government’s several surgical strikes, the PM questioned the silence of the political parties.
He asked the people of Delhi to stop those who sponsor such protests for politics or else another road may be blocked tomorrow.
The Shaheen Bagh protests have been criticised by the ruling party and its supporters for adversely impacting locals on the Noida-Kalindi Kunj route.
Shah’s national security pitch
Home Minister Amit Shah also kept up the attack on the Shaheen Bagh anti-CAA protests. Addressing a rally in Sadar Bazar, Shah urged the voters to give a befitting reply to all those who raised slogans like “Jinnah wali azadi” at Shaheen Bagh.
“Wo kehte hain we are with Shaheen Bagh (They say they’re with Shaheen Bagh). I ask you, ‘Are you with Shaheen Bagh?’ Say it loudly. Say it loudly. They are with Sharjeel Imam who says cut-off Assam,” said the home minister.
While the PM didn’t directly mention Pakistan in his rally, both the home minister and UP CM mentioned it specifically in their speeches.
Shah said, “When terrorists of Pakistan carry out attacks on India in Uri and Pulwama our government under PM Modi responds within 10 days through surgical and airstrikes.”
Terming it a battle between two ideologies, he said people need to give a befitting reply to those who think national security is not an issue.
He also mentioned the ‘tukde-tukde’ gang, saying his government acted swiftly in putting JNU student leaders Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid behind the 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”.
He added that his government is committed to constructing Ram temple within four months.
Adityanath’s attack on Kejriwal
Addressing a rally in west Delhi’s Vikaspuri, Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath said the ongoing anti-CAA protests were merely an excuse for people to vent their anger over the Modi government’s Kashmir move in August last year and the Supreme Court nod for Ram temple. He blamed the protests for throwing Delhi’s traffic out of gear affecting the lives of many.
In his speech, Adityanath went to the extent of mentioning Pakistan 48 times, accusing Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal of siding with people who raised “anti-national” slogans at Jawaharlal Nehru University and Jamia Millia Islamia.
“Slogans were raised in Jamia and JNU and they were such dangerous slogans like ‘Afzal hum sharminda hain’. He is the same Afzal [Guru] who masterminded the Parliament attack,” Adityanath added.
“Kejriwal sympathises with those who raise slogans like ‘Bharat tere tukde honge,” added Adityanath.
On Monday, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar also launched an attack on the Delhi CM, calling him a “terrorist”. His comment came days after the Election Commission notice to his party MP Parvesh Verma over a similar remark last month.