Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Saturday launched his campaign for the Delhi elections with a scorching attack on ongoing protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act or (CAA). He slammed the Arvind Kejriwal government, saying it "supplies biryani" to protesters at Shaheen Bagh, the heart of protests against the citizenship law.
"(Arvind) Kejriwal cannot even provide clean drinking water to the people of Delhi... According to a (BIS) survey, the Delhi government is making its people drink poisonous water. But it is supplying biryani to those protesting in Shaheen Bagh and elsewhere in the city," Yogi Adityanath said at one of the four rallies he held in Delhi on Saturday.
The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister also said that since Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister, "we have been identifying every terrorist and feeding them goli (bullets) instead of biryani".
Most of Yogi Adityanath's speeches at the rallies held in Delhi's Karawal Nagar, Adarsh Nagar, Narela and Rohini revolved around the now-familiar topics of biryani, bullets and Pakistan. "Earlier, stone throwers would take money from Pakistan and damage public property (in Kashmir). Kejriwal's party and the Congress used to support them. But all that has stopped since the scrapping of its special status. Similarly, Pakistan terrorists are being sent to hell by our soldiers. Congress and Kejriwal used to feed them biryani, but we feed them bullets," he said at another rally in the city.
"Kejriwal does not want Metro, clean water or electricity, he only wants Shaheen Bagh.You decide whether you want metro, roads or Shaheen Bagh. Kejriwal will put the money in getting biryani for protesters not for development," he said in another taunt at the Delhi Chief Minister.
Addressing an election rally at East Delhi's Karawal Nagar Chowk, the BJP leader claimed that the ancestors of those protesting the citizenship law were behind the 1947 partition between India and Pakistan. "The protests happening at various places in Delhi are not because of the Citizenship Amendment Act. They are happening because these people want to prevent India from becoming a global power," he said.
"Their ancestors divided India, so they have a grouse against our emerging Ek Bharat Shresht Bharat," news agency PTI quoted Yogi Adityanath as saying.
The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister also referred to the grand arrangements his government made for the annual kanwar yatra pilgrims and recalled how he arranged for flower petals to be showered on the devotees. He said officials had said this would lead to chaos and riots. To this, Yogi Adityanath said he responded by saying the government will not obstruct anyone's festivals. "We do not obstruct anyone's festival or faith. Let everyone celebrate festivals within the framework of the law. Lekin Shiv bhakto par goli chalayega koi vyakti, danga karayega, boli se nahi manega toh goli se toh maan hi jayega (If anyone opens fire at devotees of Lord Shiva, causes riots...If they don't listen to talks, they will surely listen to bullets.)
The BJP leader has frequently criticised the ongoing protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act at Shaheen Bagh, even claiming that they are being forced to sit in the cold by their male family members. His Okhla rally is being seen as a move to take the fight to Shaheen Bagh, which has emerged as the face of anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests over the last one month.
Yogi Adityanath's most-watched rally is expected to be held in the Okhla assembly constituency - of which Shaheen Bagh and Jamia Nagar are a part - today.
During the BJP's election campaign, several leaders -- including Union Home Minister Amit Shah -- have portrayed voting for the party as a way of showing disapproval for the Shaheen Bagh protest. They have also predicted a resounding victory for the BJP on February 11, when the votes are counted.
The BJP and Congress had both performed poorly against the ruling Aam Aadmi Party in the previous assembly election. The national capital will go to the polls on February 8.
(With inputs from PTI)