In a clear indication that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Indian National Congress (INC) cater to the same constituency, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today spoke a similar language as Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury while challenging the BJP to remove the Shaheen Bagh blockade.
Dealing with the ongoing squatting protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in Shaheen Bagh, Delhi, the chief minister tweeted on Monday that people were facing problems due to the closed road passing through Shaheen Bagh, but BJP does not want the passage to be cleared. The AAP head said that the BJP should ensure the road is opened in an hour, “there is a green signal from my side”.
Earlier, several BJP leaders, including Union Home Minister Amit Shah, had cornered the AAP on this issue. Kejriwal said he was declaring it in writing that the road through Shaheen Bagh would open not before 8 February but would be on the 9th, suggesting that the BJP stood to benefit from the imbroglio, which was why it would try to settle the issue not before the Delhi election is over.
“I appeal to Home Minister Amit Shah, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Piyush Goyal, everyone should go to Shaheen Bagh, talk to the people and clear the way. People should not have any problem. BJP does dirty politics on the security of the country,” AAP chief alleged.
Union minister Prasad had earlier said that the ‘protests’ at Shaheen Bagh was a ruse while the real intention of the demonstrators was opposing the Narendra Modi for the sake of it. He pointed out that Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had clearly said that he stood with the squatters. Prasad said people also saw what the INC’s Digvijaya Singh and Mani Shankar Aiyar said at the venue.
Trying to make Delhi believe he was sensitive to their plight after getting the news that the neighbourhoods around Shaheen Bagh were planning to challenge the squatters on 2 February, the Delhi chief minister sympathised with people and school children suffering, ambulances not being able to carry patients to hospitals in time, etc, Kejriwal said it was taking 3 h to cover a distance that should not take more than 40 minutes.
The AAP convener then catered to his core constituency, saying, “In this country, every person has a right to protest under the constitution but that protest should not hurt the common man. Law-and-order comes under the central government of the BJP.”
This statement came about the same time when INC leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, while targeting the prime minister, said, “Narendra Modi shed tears for Muslim sisters during the debate on triple talaq. If he is honest, he should go to Shaheen Bagh now, where those mothers and sisters have been demonstrating for the past few weeks.”
Not missing the opportunity to pinch Kejriwal, his former colleague in AAP and popular poet Kumar Vishwas tweeted, “At first, Kejriwal sends ‘Amanati-goons’ to the venue (Shaheen Bagh); his deputies openly claim to be with the squatters and then ask others to remove people from the road.”
Quoting two couplets he had cited on multiple occasions before, Vishwas wrote, “Time and again all that you say that mean nothing to cover every illegitimate idiocy of yours/ Oh messiah of truth steeped in cunning and deceit, I know you better than you know yourself.”