New Delhi, Jan 27 (IANS) This Delhi election campaign began as a war of memes and ended up as a clash of quotes. While the AAP was leading in the ‘meme’ war, the BJP is dominating the quotable quotes, some of whom have sparked off major controversies, with Union Home Minister Amit Shah himself leading the charge.
1. “Pull my ear”:
Yes, you heard it right. This is the latest in line of Shah’s long list of quotes and coinages this campaign season. While seeking votes for party candidates on Republic Day, Shah shocked many when he said, “For 15 years you gave Congress a chance and five years to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). I guarantee now that we will turn Delhi into a world-class city if we come to power. If that does not happen, you can come and pull my ears.”
He was campaigning for the BJP candidate from Northeast Delhi’s Babarpur constituency.
2. “Send electric shock to Shaheen Bagh”:
Urging voters to “press EVMs with anger” as their display of disapproval for the ongoing month-long road blockade at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh area, Shah said it should send shockwaves right up to the protesters. Making a case for Citizenship Amendment Act and against the Shaheen Bagh protesters who are vehemently against the legislation, Shah said, “When you press the button (on the voting machine) on February 8, do so with such anger that its current is felt at Shaheen Bagh.”
He was campaigning for the BJP candidate in Delhi’s Babarpur constituency when he said this, bringing in thunderous applause from the crowd.
Interestingly, it also drew sharp counter dig from his ally JD-U’s Prashant Kishor who hit back saying, “EVM buttons will be pressed with just love in Delhi on February 8. It should be a mild current, though, so brotherhood and friendship is not endangered.”
3. “Get rid of Shaheen Bagh”:
But it’s his comment on “getting rid of” Shaheen Bagh, that sparked a huge row. This Saturday, Shah has reportedly urged the voters to vote for BJP to “get rid of Shaheen Bagh”. “Your vote to BJP candidate will make Delhi and the country safe and prevent thousands of incidents like Shaheen Bagh,” he said.
He made this statement at the same rally where from he asked the electorate to send an electric “current” to the protest site which has not only come under judicial scrutiny with the Delhi High Court asking Delhi Police to “act” in “larger public good”, but also come under public scrutiny after main protest organiser Sharjeel Imam made anti-India rants.
While Shah’s “getting rid of Shaheen Bagh” comment seems to have resonated among the voters, it clearly didn’t go down well with the opposition. Former Home Minister and senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram took to Twitter to hit out at Shah’s barb, saying: “Home Minister seeks votes to get rid of Shaheen Bagh. Only those who despise Gandhiji would want to get rid of Shaheen Bagh. Shaheen Bagh represents the essence of Mahatma Gandhi.”
If the election campaign is about turning the heat on your opponents and make people talk about what you say, Shah’s latest three comments, in the past one week alone have achieved both.
Delhi will go to the polls on February 8 where the Aam Aadmi Party is tipped to be the favourite but the BJP is leaving nothing to chance to make a comeback to the seat of power where it has been out in the cold for two decades now.