Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal
Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal | Photo: Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
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New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is holding silent marches against the BJP in all 70 constituencies in Delhi for three days to protest the “terrorist” remarks made by BJP leader Parvesh Verma. 

Speaking at a rally Wednesday, Verma, the West Delhi MP, referred to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal as a terrorist. “In Delhi, many ‘natwarlals‘ and terrorists like Kejriwal are hiding. I don’t understand if we should fight with terrorists in Kashmir or with terrorist Kejriwal in Delhi,” he had said.

Starting Friday, the AAP is focussing its campaign on the remarks, and has launched a door-to-door initiative, urging voters to back Kejriwal if they believe he is “a son of Delhi”, or for the BJP if they feel he is a terrorist. 

While the focus on local governance will remain, the narrative around Verma’s comment ahead of the elections is a conscious choice by the AAP, backed by election strategist Prashant Kishor’s IPAC, which has tied up with the party for the campaign. 

Sources in the AAP 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. 

Many believe that Aiyar’s remarks helped Modi a great deal as he often referred to them in his campaign to highlight his simple background and attack the opposition. 


Also read: Arvind Kejriwal’s assets up by Rs 1.3 crore since 2015, property prices main factor


AAP plays up remarks

AAP leaders have gone to great lengths to highlight Verma’s remarks.       

The party’s social media head, Ankit Lal, posted a video from the silent protest at Janakpuri Friday, in which AAP supporters are seen donning black ribbons “to condemn the hate remarks of the BJP”. The party will follow the same module in the other silent protests too, party leaders told ThePrint. 

AAP leaders are also uploading social media posts expressing angst on the comments, be it on Twitter or Instagram. Its official account has also been playing up the reaction to the remarks. 

 

 

On Thursday, Kejriwal himself said the people of Delhi should decide whether he is their son, elder brother, or a terrorist as alleged by Verma. “I have put my life on the line for the country,” he said, adding that he had options to settle abroad, but stayed back for the country. He further said his parents were also upset by the statement.

Senior AAP leaders Sanjay Singh and Pankaj Gupta Wednesday filed a complaint with Delhi’s Chief Election Officer, demanding the registration of an FIR. Following this, the Election Commission had banned Verma from the BJP’s list of star campaigners. 

“The BJP only knows how to play divisive politics, but AAP has stumped them this time around,” AAP MLA Somnath Bharati said. “One may ask that if AAP preaches unity for all in Delhi, then why hasn’t Kejriwal visited JNU or Shaheen Bagh? This is simply because it is the BJP that is responsible for the situation in these places, and the onus to address them lies with it.” 


Also read: Kejriwal ducks Team Shah’s bodyline bowling in Delhi, but slog overs will test his patience 


 

 

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