Days after V K Malhotra’s controversial remarks on Batla House and Jamia Nagar, Delhi BJP chief and the party candidate form Chandni Chowk Harsh Vardhan distanced himself from the row, even as the party’s minority cell chief objected and asked leaders to clarify their stand.
Harsh Vardhan said Malhotra’s statement on terror safe houses in Muslim areas was not the party’s stand.
“We believe it is wrong to generalise anything. Terrorism has no religion and caste. Any terror-related activity should be punished and it can happen anywhere. The party will try to sort this out with Malhotra, who is a senior leader,”he said.
But Malhotra stuck to his guns, repeating that his view was also that of the BJP.
“This is not just my thinking, this is a stand that has been propagated by the party as well,” he said.
The BJP’s Minority Cell chief Atif Rashid objected to Malhotra’s remarks and asked the party to make its stand clear.
“Even if some terrorists are caught from areas dominated by Muslims, we just cannot brand the entire community as outlaws. Narendra Modiji has given a slogan, “sabka saath, sabka vikas”. These statements will only harm him in the elections. Terrorism has no colour, no religion and no caste,” Rashid said.
Meanwhile, sitting East Delhi MP and Congress candidate Sandeep Dikshit on Saturday inaugurated an office of the Election Commission in the Batla House area.
Rubbishing reports that the act was a violation of the model code of conduct, an aide of Dikshit said they had obtained clearance from EC to do the inauguration.
“This is not a publicity stunt. Election offices in various districts are being inaugurated one by one. In fact, even political parties have their offices at the Batla crossing,” Dikshit said.
Earlier this week, Malhotra had said terror modules were being run out of these areas and police could not search these areas as “extremists do not allow them to enter”. Malhotra also alleged that Congress and AAP leaders were helping to keep these areas safe for terrorists.
Slamming his remarks, Dikshit had demanded an apology from Malhotra “within 48 hours”. He had also threatened to protest outside the Delhi BJP office if no apology was forthcoming.
Speaking to Newsline, Assad, a resident of Abul Fazal Enclave, said Dikshit’s was trying to cash in on the controversy. “Division of Muslim votes is a reality.
Traditional Congress supporters are moving to AAP and the BJP too might benefit. Around 90 to 95 per cent votes from this locality used to go to the Congress every election.
Even after the Batla House encounter, when the sentiment here was anti-Congress, Dikshit managed to win from East Delhi. For years, the only option with residents here was the Congress. But now they have found another option in AAP,” he said.