The BJP, facing unrelenting anger against the citizenship law, has decided to make the most of the difficult situation and hinge its Delhi election campaign on the Shaheen Bagh protest, sources said on Monday. Shaheen Bagh, where hundreds of women and children have spent freezing nights in a show of protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act, may just turn out to be what the BJP was looking for.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah is in charge of the BJP's campaign to oust the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Delhi.
Sources say top BJP leaders feel the party can succeed in isolating AAP and also cutting down Congress with a new "Shaheen Bagh" blitz.
"With the Shaheen Bagh Mein Kaun Kidhar (who stands where on Shaheen Bagh) campaign, we will corner AAP and Congress and urge them to spell out their stand," said a BJP leader.
"It will be difficult for them to support the traffic nightmare in surrounding areas like Sarita Vihar, children not going to school, shops not opening," the leader said.
As part of this campaign, top BJP leaders attacked Mr Kejriwal and AAP today.
BJP president JP Nadda accused AAP of shielding the likes of ''Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid, and other anti-India forces''.
BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao told news agency ANI: "AAP and Congress are supporters of violence on the streets of Delhi. A few weeks ago Delhi was brought to a standstill. Delhi seemed like Baghdad for some time or Syria's capital Damascus, where one has seen a lot of disturbing incidents. Delhi will not be reduced to a terrorized city."
Mr Kejriwal tried to lob the ball back to the BJP. "People are facing problems due to the closed road in Shaheen Bagh. BJP doesn't want the road to open and is doing dirty politics. BJP leaders should immediately visit Shaheen Bagh, talk and get the road re-opened," he said.
Earlier, the BJP had launched a fierce campaign focusing on what it called the AAP government's failure to deliver on its promises to the people of Delhi on water supply, power and infrastructure.
By incorporating Shaheen Bagh into its campaign, the BJP believes its campaign will have an emotional pitch and also a rallying point against the protests against the CAA; the law gives citizenship to non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who fled religious persecution and entered India before 2015. Protesters believe the law is skewed against Muslims.
Around 200 BJP MPs have been called to Delhi for the February 8 election and each of the city's 70 constituencies will have three parliamentarians working for the party candidate.