- AAP's Raghav Chadha dissociated the Delhi government from the issue
- Shaheen Bagh is the epicentre of anti-CAA protests
- BJP had accused Arvind Kejriwal of aiding the protesters
The Aam Aadmi Party today stuck to its winning formula of steering clear of any discussion on the anti-CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) protests at Shaheen Bagh. Party spokesperson Raghav Chadha dissociated the Delhi government from the issue on two counts -- that "law and order is under the Centre" and that the contentious citizenship law is also something that concerns the Centre.
"We are a small political party in Delhi concerned with issues of basic amenities, healthcare, education, pollution... we have nothing to do with it (CAA and Shaheen Bagh)," he told NDTV.
Amid a mega campaign by the BJP that focussed extensively on the protests, AAP practically repeated its record win of 2015 -- retaining 62 of the state assembly's 70 seats. Last time it won 67 seats.
The BJP had targeted Shaheen Bagh - the epicentre of anti-CAA protests in which hundreds of women and children have spent two months sitting on an arterial road -- over traffic blocks and inconvenience to people.
Arvind Kejriwal was accused of aiding the protesters - "serving biryani in Shaheen Bagh" was how Yogi Adityanath had put it.
But AAP managed it by keeping its focus tight on its work over the last five years -- free water and power, revamping of schools and mohalla clinics -- instead of getting drawn into the debate over the citizenship law or nationalism with the BJP.
Mr Chadha today said the BJP has "tried every trick in the book for the last one month to communalise the elections". But his party's stand on CAA has been clear -- "this legislation is the Centre's work, we have nothing to do with this at all", he said.
The control over the Delhi Police has been one of the major points of friction between AAP and the Centre. The police is currently under the control of the Union Home Ministry, a fact that has driven AAP's demand for complete statehood for Delhi.
Mr Kejriwal had earlier said if his government had control over the police, then "we would have cleared the area within two hours".
Taking a dig at Union Home Minister Amit Shah, he also said, "Amit Shah is the Home Minister, he is so powerful, do you think he cannot clear a road if he wants to? He doesn't want to as he wants to fight the entire Delhi election on Shaheen Bagh. The BJP has no other issue".
Mr Chadha, one of the most affable faces in AAP, today said now that the elections are over, "All animosity, enmity, mudslinging that happened during polls should end and cutting across party lines, people should work on development".