As campaigning in Delhi gathered steam for the Assembly elections, BJP leader and Minister of State (Finance) Anurag Thakur, addressing an election rally Monday, repeatedly chanted “Desh ke gaddaron ko” and had people responding with “goli maaro saalon ko”.
It roughly translates to “What should be done with traitors of the country? Shoot them”.
Speaking at a rally in Rithala which was to be addressed by Union Home Minister Amit Shah and his cabinet colleague Giriraj Singh, Thakur led the chanting with “Desh ke gaddaron ko”, and people completed the slogan each time with “goli maaro saalon ko”.
Speaking to The Indian Express later, Thakur said he merely asked people what should be done with traitors of the country. “I just wanted people to say what is to be done with traitors of the country. It could have evoked a response like ‘vote them out’ or ‘throw them out’. But it was the people who reacted so,” he said.
The rally in Rithala was in support of BJP candidate Manish Chaudhary. MP Hans Raj Hans was also present on the occasion. Chaudhary too told The Indian Express that Thakur cited only the first part of the slogan: “Anuragji just said, desh ke gaddaron ko.”
The slogan ‘Desh ke gaddaron ko, goli maaro saalon ko’ was earlier heard in Delhi during a march led by BJP leader Kapil Mishra to support the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. Delhi is going to polls on February 8, and the BJP is up against the ruling AAP and also the Congress.
Thakur was addressing the crowd when Giriraj Singh, who is also known for inflammatory remarks, stepped out to receive Shah who later joined them on the dais.
When Thakur shouted the first line, a party leader who was standing next to him completed the slogan, but the minister gestured that he let the crowd respond. Thakur then told people “let the shout reach till the end so that Girirajji can hear this.”
Thakur later said he meant to ask people to stay away from “those who want to break the country into pieces”.
“It was the people who wanted the traitors to be out. What I was asking people whether they wanted to support those who stand with the Shaheen Bagh protesters or the tukde tukde gang. While (AAP leader) Manish Sisodia declared his support for Shaheen Bagh protesters, Rahul Gandhi went to back those who want to break India into pieces.”
“I wanted people to throw them away by pressing (the voting button) for the BP. I just asked them to say that. My question was whether they want to back Arvind Kejriwal or Rahul Gandhi. They reacted. What can I do? My simple question to both Kejriwal and Gandhi is: where do they stand? For those building India or breaking India,” he said.
Thakur’s slogan came a day after Shah urged people to vote for the BJP: “Press the button so hard that its current forces the protesters at Shaheen Bagh to leave the place by evening.”
Since December 15, Shaheen Bagh has been the centre of protests against the CAA and the proposed NRC. While the Congress has backed the protest, the AAP has stayed away from the site, but its Deputy Chief Minister Sisodia has said he stands with the protesters.
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