Breaking his silence on BJP’s lackluster performance in the Delhi Assembly elections, Union Home Minister Amit Shah Thursday said the party chances at wining might have suffered due to provocative statements made by its leaders.
Speaking at the Times Now Summit in New Delhi, the Home Minister said statements like ‘goli maaro’ and ‘Indo-Pak match’ should not have been made, and underlined that the BJP has distanced itself from such remarks. “It is possible that our performance may have suffered because of this,” he said.
He, however, said the BJP does not fight elections just for victory or defeat but believes in expanding its ideology through polls.
During the poll campaign, BJP leader and Minister of State (Finance) Anurag Thakur in Rithala constituency repeatedly chanted “Desh ke gaddaron ko” and had people responding with “goli maaro saalon ko”. While BJP candidate Kapil Mishra had compared the Assembly elections to an “India versus Pakistan contest”, and accused AAP and Congress of creating “mini-Pakistans” like Shaheen Bagh. Both leaders were barred from campaigning by the Election Commission following their remarks.
On Tuesday, the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) stormed back to power after Delhi saw a bitter and vitriolic campaign. The party has won 62 seats in the 70-member House, while the BJP improved its tally by bagging eight seats. The Congress, on the other hand, had to face the ignominy of having drawn a blank in the second consecutive assembly election in the capital. The AAP’s resounding victory comes nearly eight months after it suffered a severe drubbing in the Lok Sabha polls in which the party drew a blank while the BJP won all the seven seats.
On the nation-wide protests against the amended Citizenship Act and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC), Shah said: “Everyone has a right to protest peacefully. Anyone who wants to discuss issues related to CAA with me can seek time from my office; will allot time within three days.” He also said no documents need to be shown during the updation of the National Population Register exercise.
“We have never discriminated against anyone on the ground of religion. There is no provision in the CAA which says that citizenship of Muslims will be revoked. Don’t just criticise CAA, but discuss it on the basis of merits. CAA is neither anti-Muslim nor anti-minority. I am ready to meet anyone, but discussions need to happen on merit. Unfortunately, nobody wants to come forward and discuss CAA,” Shah added.
Touching upon the issue of detention of Jammu and Kashmir leaders, the Home Minister said the Centre has no role. “Decision on the detention of J&K leaders is taken by the local administration,” he said, adding that everyone, including politicians, are free to visit the newly-created Union Territory whenever they want to and there is no restriction on anyone’s movement.
Several leaders including — PDP’s Mehbooba Mufti, Omar Abdullah and father Farooq Abdullah — were put in detention last year after Centre abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution, revoking the special status of the Valley and bifurcating it into two Union Territories.
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