New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressing his first rally in Delhi on Monday ahead of the Assembly elections, said the ongoing protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in several parts of the national capital are a 'political experiment' and not a coincidence. He accused the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Congress of fuelling the demonstrations.
Modi cited the examples of Shaheen Bagh, where women have been at the forefront of anti-CAA protests since December 15 last year, and Jamia Millia Islamia, where students and others have repeatedly agitated against the contentious legislation.
“Be it Seelampur, Jamia or Shaheen Bagh, protests were held over the past several days regarding the Citizenship Amendment Bill. Is this performance just a coincidence? No. This is a conspiracy,” Modi said in east Delhi’s Karkardooma. “There is a design of politics behind it, which is going to ruin the harmony of the nation.”
Modi said people commuting to and from Noida are facing a lot of problems due to the Shaheen Bagh protests, where a stretch of road has been blocked by agitators.
"The people of Delhi are quiet and they are angry watching this vote bank politics," he said. “People of Delhi are facing inconvenience due to the Shaheen Bagh protest.”
"If the strength of those plotting a conspiracy increases, then another road or lane will be blocked. We can't leave Delhi to such anarchy," he said. "Only the people of Delhi can stop this. Every vote given to the BJP can do this."
The Shaheen Bagh protests have taken centrestage in the BJP poll campaign with the top party leadership raking it up in every rally.
Modi’s comments come days after an incident of firing at the protest site in southeast Delhi, where a 25-year-old man fired two rounds in the air, triggering panic. The man was later arrested. No one was injured.
The incident of firing at Shaheen Bagh came two days after a youth fired a pistol at a group of anti-CAA protesters near Jamia University. The minor was later arrested. The opposition parties had then accused junior finance minister Anurag Thakur for inciting the attack with his "goli maaro saalon ko" (shoot them down) slogan at a Delhi election rally.
Modi accused the ruling AAP and the Congress of provoking the people of Shaheen Bagh.
“If the protests had been against one law, it would have ended after assurances of the government,” Modi said. “But AAP and Congress are provoking people. The Constitution and Tricolour are being kept in front and attention is being diverted from the real conspiracy.”
Both the AAP and the BJP have been engaged in a war of words over the Shaheen Bagh protests. While a number of BJP leaders have repeatedly claimed those protesting at Shaheen Bagh are working for Pakistan and to break up the nation, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has said that both law and order and Delhi Police come under the ambit of the central government. Union home minister Amit Shah could get the blocked roads cleared in minutes, but that may not help his party to garner votes for the February 8 assembly elections, Kejriwal alleged.
Modi also took a swipe at the Congress, claiming those who questioned the Batla House encounter are now saving those who raised 'tukde tukde' slogans. He also slammed Kejriwal and said they had questioned the Army on surgical strikes.
Modi promised that the BJP-led Central government will provide 'pucca' houses to all poor families by 2022, claiming the AAP will continue to stall welfare schemes for people if it is voted back to power.
Modi said his government was finding solutions to decades-old problems affecting the country and cited the regularisation of unauthorised colonies to assert that the BJP had fulfilled its promise to the people of Delhi.
"We delivered on our promise to people of Delhi that we will regularise unauthorised colonies," Modi said.