New Delhi: Union Minister Prakash Javadekar on Wednesday launched a fresh salvo against the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Congress, accusing them of inciting violence in the national capital over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
The AAP and Congress leaders "misled" people and "incited" them to violence during protests against CAA in the city, alleged Javadekar who is in-charge of the Delhi BJP for the Assembly polls. He said both parties should apologise to the people of the city.
Javadekar named leaders of both parties in connection with violence at Jamia, Daryaganj and Seelampur areas during violent protests over the CAA in the city last month.
"In Jamia violence, Congress leader Asif Khan and AAP MLA Amantullah have been accused of inciting people. Congress's Chaudhary Mateen Ahamad and AAP MLA Ishraq Khan and councilor Abdul Rahman in Seelamnagar, and Congress leader Mahmood Pracha in connection with Daryaganj violence, are either accused or facing investigation," said the minister.
Javadekar blamed AAP's Okhla MLA Amanatullah Khan of giving a speech and misleading people over the citizenship law by claiming that the rights of Muslims will be curtailed.
"Amanatullah Khan gave a riot inciting speech, claiming CAA will lead to ban on burqa, loudspeakers at mosques, cap and beard...but where is the relation. It (CAA) is a law to provide citizenship to religiously persecuted minorities in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan," he said.
Referring to the upcoming Delhi polls next month, Javadekar said the fight is "between anarchists and those who oppose them".
"The AAP strangulated municipal corporations' attempt on development. Rs 900 crore was not given. Today, the people of Delhi are surprised that the AAP slept through all these 4.5 years and in the remaining six months they have launched schemes," he said.
Javadekar alleged that the AAP dispensation is taking credit for the work "done by someone else". He was specifically referring to allegations that Arvind Kejriwal's government was taking credit for the work done by the BJP-ruled municipalities.
"Who did fogging during the dengue season? Our corporations organised an awareness drive against water accumulation and dengue cases went down. During corporation polls, Kejriwal urged people to not choose the BJP as dengue will claim lives. Now he is also claiming credit for decrease in dengue cases because of the work done by these corporations," Javadekar said.
AAP hits back
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said that the BJP is playing an "old tape" in a "new tape recorder", hitting back at Javadekar who blamed the AAP for the violent protests against CAA in the national capital in December. Sisodia also accused the BJP of trying to distract people from real issues ahead of the elections.
Responding to the allegation, Sisodia said, "The AAP completely opposes riots and we all know which party indulges in riots. The masters of riots are telling who are doing riots."
"They are just trying to distract people from real matters by raising these kinds of issues. It is an old tape that BJP has played earlier also and it is playing the same old tape again through a new tape recorder," he said.
Sisodia also said Javadekar should understand that Delhi elections would be fought not on "old tapes" but on real issues like education.
All the policies of the BJP were against "good and cheap" education, alleged Sisodia, seeking an explanation from the party over the hike in CBSE examination fees that "burdened six lakh families" in Delhi.
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) increased the fees for class 10 and class 12 board exams in August by up to Rs 1,150, the first hike in five years.
Talking to reporters, Sisodia claimed Delhi BJP leaders asked the Centre to increase CBSE exam fees after the AAP government decided to pay the fees of the students.
Sisodia, who also holds the portfolio of the education minister, alleged the BJP is against affordable and quality education.
While the Delhi government is still committed to bear the full fees for government school students, this move by the BJP has imposed a huge financial burden on private school students in Delhi, he said.
"These families are not going to forgive BJP," he said. "By increasing the fees, the BJP has put the burden on Delhi's six lakh families. This shows the BJP is against education."
"The BJP is a political party which is entirely against any education reform. Today, the question I want to ask the BJP leaders why they are against affordable education model of the AAP government? I also want to ask why is the BJP is opposed to the idea of affordable and quality education across India?" he said.
Sisodia said Kejriwal has announced that the Delhi government will pay the full CBSE examination fees of all classes 10 and 12 students of government schools. "This fee was Rs 450 for General and Rs 125 for SC/ST," he said.
In Delhi, nearly 44 lakh students are studying in CBSE-affiliated schools of which around 6 lakh are in classes 10 and 12, Sisodia said. He said his government's decision to pay the CBSE exam fees had benefited more than 3.5 lakh students in government schools.
"The BJP thought this decision will affect their politics, therefore, the Delhi BJP leaders immediately approached their national leaders to ask the CBSE to increase its fees. Thereafter on August 2, 2019, CBSE announced a steep hike in the examination fee for classes X & XII for the examination to Rs 1,950 for General and Rs 1,650 for SC/ST," Sisodia said.
The minister said this decision has also affected the families of private school students and the four-fold hike of the fees shows that "the BJP is against the very idea of affordable education system".
"This also shows that the BJP opposes any kind of education development and quality education model in Delhi. If they have increased the fees marginally, then it would have been understandable but this four-fold hike was a criminal offence with the families of students of Delhi," he said.
(With inputs from PTI)