New Delhi: BJP star campaigner and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath entered the Delhi campaign all guns blazing, attacking the AAP as an ally of Pakistan and portraying the Shaheen Bagh protest as “motivated”.
But the results are less than humbling for the monk — of the 13 seats where Adityanath campaigned, the BJP had lost or was trailing in 11 as of 7 pm Tuesday. The two it was leading in, Karawal Nagar and Rohini, are both BJP strongholds.
The BJP candidate for Rohini is Vijender Kumar Gupta, the former leader of the opposition in the Delhi assembly, and for Karawal Nagar it’s former MLA Mohan Singh Bisht.
Where Yogi campaigned
The constituencies where Yogi campaigned are Patparganj, Kirari, Mehrauli, Saurabh Vihar, Jahangirpuri, Karawal Nagar, Rohini, Badarpur, Hari Nagar, Vikaspuri, Uttam Nagar, Tughlakabad, and Dwarka.
In each constituency, Adityanath had railed against the AAP, often employing an aggressive pitch with respect to the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests.
Former Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia won over the BJP’s Ravinder Singh Negi by more than 3,000 voters.
The BJP’s Anil Jha was defeated by Rituraj Govind of the AAP by nearly 6,000 votes.
Naresh Yadav of the AAP defeated the BJP’s Kusum Khatri by over 18,000 votes.
Ram Singh Netaji of the AAP was ahead of the BJP’s Ramvir Singh Bidhuri by over 2,000 votes.
Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga of the BJP was defeated by the AAP’s Raj Kumari Dhillon by over 20,000 votes.
Sanjay Singh of the BJP was behind the AAP’s Mahinder Yadav by over 31,000 votes.
Naresh Balyan of the AAP was leading, with the BJP’s Krishan Gahlot over 17,000 votes behind.
Sahi Ram of the AAP won by nearly 14,000 votes against the BJP’s Vikram Bidhuri.
Vinay Mishra of the AAP is over 14,000 votes ahead of the BJP’s Pardyumn Rajput.
The AAP’s Ajesh Yadav defeated the BJP’s V.K. Bhagat by over 29,000 votes.
Mohan Singh Bisht of the BJP defeated the AAP’s Durgesh Pathak by 8,000 votes.
Vijender Kumar Gupta won, with the AAP’s Rajesh Nama Bansiwala over 12,000 votes behind.
What he talked about
After Union Home Minister and former BJP president Amit Shah introduced Shaheen Bagh into the Delhi campaign, Adityanath followed. He referred to a Pakistan minister’s tweet exhorting Delhi voters to defeat the BJP (a tweet at once publicly rejected by Kejriwal), and sought to paint Kejriwal as an ally of the neighbouring country.
At a rally in Vikaspuri, Adityanath said Kejriwal was feeding biryani to Shaheen Bagh protesters instead of providing necessities to Delhi residents.
“His sympathy is with those who work against India,” he said, adding that Kejriwal sided with those “who chanted anti-national slogans in Jamia and JNU”.
“Delhi needs to have a government like ours… Hindus were not allowed to celebrate their festival and kanwariyas used to get beaten up… Kanwariyas used to be assaulted by police… they could not blow shanks, our BJP government gave permission for everything,” he said at a rally.
“We are not the ones who obstruct anyone’s festival or faith… Everyone should be able to celebrate their festival but within the law. If someone shoots a gun at followers of Shiva, and does not listen to words (boli), then he will listen to bullet (goli).”
At Saurabh Vihar, six kilometres from Shaheen Bagh, Adityanath said, “Kejriwal and his mandali are trying to fan unrest and anarchy by tacitly supporting Shaheen Bagh. These protests are nothing but a way for some people to show their objection against the scrapping of Article 370 and construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya.”
Asked about the performance of the BJP in constituencies where Adityanath campaigned, his predecessor Akhilesh Yadav of the Samajwadi Party said, “In Delhi, people rejected politics of religion… Yogi is the mascot of communal politics. Yogi has lost his charm and he is continuously losing ground in Uttar Pradesh… We request the BJP that he should campaign all over India so that the party can lose ground.”