Cricketer-turned-politician Kirti Azad, touted as a frontrunner for the post of Delhi Congress chief, lashed out at the BJP and AAP for “playing politics with the sentiments of Purvanchalis”. In a tweet Monday, he criticised both BJP chief Manoj Tiwari and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for their recent statements on immigrants.
“By making statements, leaders of Delhi are playing with sentiments of the public. Manoj Tiwari believes Purvanchalis are intruders and held them 80% guilty. Arvind Kejriwal shamelessly says that Purvanchalis come with 500 rupees and get treatment worth lakhs. Public will teach a lesson to both shameless people,” he tweeted.
The statement comes days after Azad’s name emerged as one of the top choices of the Delhi Congress chief post. Though the party’s final decision is awaited, this is the first public statement he has made on Delhi politics.
Speaking to The Indian Express, he said: “I have been associated with Delhi for a very long time. I started playing cricket from here, I started my political career from Gol Market where I became an MLA. There are a lot of people who are from Bihar. I am originally from the north of Bihar which is called Mithalanchal… New Delhi is the capital of India and every Indian has the right to stay here. Time will come when these people will start saying ‘go to Pakistan’. This is ridiculous. As an Indian, people have the opportunity to live wherever they want.”
Earlier this month, Tiwari had said illegal immigrants were responsible for 80% of crimes in the capital, referring to the incident of chain snatching with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s niece. Last month, Kejriwal had spoken about people from outside the capital availing healthcare facilities here.
“They are commenting on how people from Bihar are coming to Delhi with Rs 500 and getting treatment worth lakhs for free. What is this? Is Delhi the personal property of anyone? These people want votes but they have no respect for people from outside, specially Purvanchalis. They should respect whatever kind of work a person does irrespective of where he comes from,” Azad said.