Modi-Shahs Delhi dislike found its new target just in time for election Shaheen Bagh – ThePrint

Posted: January 29, 2020 at 12:44 pm

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Union Home Minister Amit Shahs noxious Shaheen Bagh comments underscore how Narendra Modis Bharatiya Janata Party wants to convert the Delhi assembly election into a nationalists versustukde tukdegang narrative and reduce it to nothing more than an overtly polarised contest.

Considering this is the national capital, the election conversation should have been around larger national issues of development, jobs, government schemes, and the economy, among others. But the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), despite being in power at the Centre, has chosen to ensure the dominant theme of its campaign remains around Shaheen Bagh, tukde tukde gang, the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, nationals versus anti-nationals and more such convenient rhetoric. This, even as its main rival Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwals Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has based its entire campaign on its five-year governance and promises for the future.

Modi-Shahs approach towards the Delhi election, however, fits into their larger disdain towards the national capital, the desire to make it a sum of binaries and project it as a hub of nation-unfriendly activities. The duo has long declared war on Delhi, given the city particularly the elite Lutyens zone, campuses like Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and Jamia Millia Islamia as well as the tentacled sphere of influencers visiting Khan Market is often critical of the BJP and its leadership. The segment critical of the BJP in Delhi is influential, has platforms where it can ensure it is heard, and more damningly, can reach out to an international audience.

Also read:The peoples occupation of Shaheen Bagh speaks truth to power

It is almost as if the anti-CAA protests in Shaheen Bagh and what they represent gave the BJP exactly what it was looking for a polarising point to keep harping on.

Therefore, Amit Shah feels Delhi should vote toget ridof Shaheen Bagh. He alsowants Shaheen Bagh to feel the current when people press the button on the EVM on 8 February. Then again, the former BJP president claimsKejriwal is not giving permission to prosecute thetukde tukde gang.

Amit Shah isnt the only one spewing such rubbish. Minister of Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad Monday said the true face of Shaheen Bagh protesters had to be exposed and questioned whytheAAP andtheCongress were silent.

And minister of state for finance Anurag Thakururged the election crowd in Delhi to chant shoot down the traitors (Desh ke gaddaron ko, goli maaro saalon ko).

The BJPand its campaignersdo talkabout other issues, butShaheen Bagh and communal polarisation (like its leader Kapil Mishracallingthe election a contest between India and Pakistan)has become the dominant theme for the BJP. Essentially, the Delhi election isnowsimply about the Shaheen Baghs of the world,whileModis favouritevikas (development) andjan kalyan(welfare) talkshave been relegated to some dark corner.

TheBJPisused to playing this dangerous, polarising game ahead of elections. Its entire politicsisbuilt on a toxicmixof communal and nationalisticagenda. But even then, and especially under the pro-vikas Modi, the party has raised development initiatives just as much as it has temples and termite-like infiltrators. And yet, Delhi election is jarring because of the number of times people have been made to hear Shaheen Bagh and tukde tukde gang, but rarely the BJPs plans to improve Delhi residents quality of life if it is voted to power.

Also read:Amit Shah raises Shaheen Bagh in Delhi election: BJPs desperation or trump card?

Reducing the Delhi election to a Shaheen Bagh versus India contest gives away Modi-Shahs larger discomfort with the national capital.

Both have looked at themselves as outsiders, and Delhis elite, its media and all its intellectuals and influencers as enemies. The war on Delhi, therefore, has been a long one.

It flared up inFebruary2016, when one of Indias premier institutes Jawaharlal Nehru University(JNU)wasfirstdubbedas a hub of anti-national activities,whileits student leaderswerearrested and slappedwithsedition charges. The university has remained in the eye of stormeversince,withtherecent attackby masked goonsonlytakingthat tale forward. The urban Naxals, thetukde-tukde gang, the unpatriotic elements all live in Delhi, and the BJPs purpose in life is to teach them all a lesson.

Modis Khan Market gangjibe in May 2019further highlighted this contempt and dislike for Delhis influential sections.Thatgrouse is now coming out in the form of this Shaheen Bagh-obsession ahead ofthe Delhielection.

Imagine, this locality in Delhi, which was unknown before the anti-CAA protest began mid-December, has become the BJPs prime enemy, almost its raison dtre, in this election. Sources in both AAP and BJP say Arvind Kejriwal has a definite edge in this election. So, perhaps by making Shaheen Bagh and the tukde tukde gang their chief rival, Narendra Modi and Amit Shah want to send out an even more dangerous message to their voters that either they are withtheBJP,which espouses therealidea of India,or with these separatist elements who are out to destroy the country.

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Modi-Shahs Delhi dislike found its new target just in time for election Shaheen Bagh - ThePrint

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