Shah dares Kejriwal to visit Shaheen Bagh, says Delhi residents will decide rest

Home Minister accuses Delhi CM of instigating riots and vandalism in national capital

Amit Shah
This will be Shah's second visit to West Bengal after assuming the office of Union home minister. He had addressed a seminar on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill at Netaji Indoor Stadium on October 1 last year. Photo: PTI

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday (January 27) dared AAP chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to visit the anti-CAA protest site at Shaheen Bagh so that the people of Delhi can decide whom to vote for in the upcoming assembly election.

Calling Kejriwal a member of the ‘tukde tukde’ gang at a rally in Rithala in northwest Delhi, Shah said neither he nor Congress leader Rahul Gandhi were bothered about the image of the country.

“They will not listen to us. You people (AAP leaders) say that you are with Shaheen Bagh, if you have the guts then go and sit with them and let Delhi decide,” Shah said.

Also watch: Delhi polls: Amit Shah’s CAA promise vs Kejriwal’s jibe

The BJP leader claimed the Delhi Police has booked Sharjeel Imam, a JNU student, on the charge of sedition for his comment of “trying to cut chickens neck” and breaking the Northeast from the rest of the country.

“I want to ask Kejriwal whether he is in favour of apprehending Sharjeel Imam or not? Whether you are with the people of Shaheen Bagh or not, please tell the people of Delhi,” Shah said.

Imam was one of the initial organisers of the Shaheen Bagh protest.

At another election rally in Janakpuri, Shah accused Gandhi and Kejriwal of doing politics of “vote bank” on national issues and “supporting” the protest at Shaheen Bagh while instigating riots and vandalism.

“The Modi government will not spare anti-national elements,” he warned.

He also attacked the Kejriwal government for not fulfilling promises like regularising temporary employees, providing free wifi, opening new schools and colleges, constructing roads and cleaning the Yamuna. “Kejriwal government is in power since five years but till today there is no clean drinking water in the city. There are no good schools or hospitals as claimed by him. When I visited a Delhi government school, I saw that it was operating from a building that was illegally built and falls in the list of those that to be erased,” Shah said.

He also slammed the Delhi government for not sanctioning the prosecution of former JNU students’ union leader Kanhaiya Kumar in a sedition case. Shah said if the national capital comes under the leadership of Modi, it will become the best city in the world. The BJP has a vision for the development of Delhi and cleaning the Yamuna river will be on top of our agenda, he said. “Yamuna river is still dirty as against his (Kejriwal) claims of cleaning the river… Modi and Yogi (Adityanath) have cleaned the Ganga river as promised. We will make Yamuna Riverfront like Sabarmati riverfront in Ahmedabad,” Shah said. However, a sizeable majority of those present at the public meeting was not convinced by the claims and promises made by Shah.

Bablu Yadav, a migrant and resident of Janakpuri said, “Shah and Modi can only talk but Kejriwal knows how to perform. They keep raking up issues like Ayodhya, Kashmir, Muslims and Pakistan… what are they waiting for if they want to attack Pakistan? They are in power, so why don’t they destroy it instead of telling us how wrong Pakistan is?”

Also read: Protest as much as you can, CAA won’t be withdrawn, says Amit Shah

Deepak Shrivastava, another local, who attended the Janakpuri meeting said, “All we hear from Modi and Shah are pep talks. I am an engineer from BHU and searching for a job. This government has failed the country’s youth.”

“Now, they have a problem with protests in universities but it is the same youth who brought them to power in 2014. The same youth will ensure their defeat,” he added. The public meeting in Janakpuri witnessed two incidents of pick-pocketing as the thieves managed to steal ₹37,500 in cash and a mobile phone, police said.

Fitting reply?

Hitting back at the BJP, Kejriwal alleged that the saffron party does not want to open the Shaheen Bagh stretch of the Kalindi Kunj road as it is doing “dirty politics” over it. He said law and order in the national capital lies entirely with the Centre and “if they are saying that they need permission from me, I am giving them permission, open the road in one hour”.

“I can give it to you in writing, the BJP does not want to open the route in Shaheen Bagh. The Shaheen Bagh route will remain closed till February 8 (Election Day) and it will open February 9,” Kejriwal told reporters.

(With inputs from agencies)