More than 50 people who became known for their protests against the citizenship law in Delhi, have joined the BJP, triggering the claims of the ruling Aam Aadmi Party that the protests were a BJP ruse for political gains. The 24-hour, 101-day protest at northwest Delhi became the template for anti-CAA protests across the country and fizzled out after the panic over coronavirus.
The list of people who joined the BJP on Sunday, includes social worker Shahzad Ali, gynecologist Dr Mehreen and former AAP worker Tabassum Hussain, who were among the well-known faces at Shaheen Bagh.
AAP now claims that the BJP conspired with the Delhi Police and planned the demonstration at Shaheen Bagh to get political mileage ahead of the Delhi assembly elections.
"The Shaheen Bagh protest was the BJPs main election issue... the BJP stands exposed now as the organisers of the Shaheen Bagh protests have joined BJP," said AAP's Saurabh Bharadwaj, accusing the BJP of polarizing Delhi to win the election.
"The Delhi Police did not remove Shaheen Bagh protestors on the instructions of BJP," Mr Bhardwaj told NDTV, asserting that the Delhi Police was hand-in-glove with the BJP.
The protest was a key issue for the BJP ahead of the assembly elections. The party repeatedly alleged that Mr Kejriwal's AAP was hand-in-glove with the protesters and was appeasing the minority community, which comprised a majority among the protesters.
In his rallies, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had tagged the protests as "anarchy" and sought Delhi's mandate to stop it.
"Whether it is Seelampur, Jamia or Shaheen Bagh, there have been multiple protests against the CAA. Do you think these protests are a coincidence? It is not. It is all an experiment rooted in politics. If it was simply about a law, it would have ended," PM Modi had said, accusing AAP and the Congress of practicing appeasement politics.
There was also a string of hate speeches from his ministers and party leaders, after which violence swept northeast Delhi in which 53 people, most of them Muslims, died. The violence had started as clashes between the protesters for and against the Citizenship Amendment Act.