Aam Aadmi Party’s Amanatullah Khan, leading by more than 70,000 votes over his closest rival, the BJP’s Braham Singh, had a ready quip when asked about the results. “Okhla ki janta ne current laga diya, (the people of Okhla have given an electric shock),” he said, referring to Amit Shah’s recent advice to the people of Delhi.
For Mr Khan, it was payback time for the deluge of hate speeches against anti-CAA protests that culminated in two shooting incidents. Ohkla is where Shaheen Bagh, the epicentre of anti-CAA protests, and the Jamia Millia Islamia – another major protest hub – are located.
At a recent rally, BJP chief Amit Shah said, “Press the button with such anger that the current is felt at Shaheen Bagh,” making the anti-citizenship law protests front and centre of the party’s campaign.
The comment, and others like it, had led AAP to accuse the BJP of driving a polarising campaign.
A number of BJP leaders, from Yogi Adityanath to union minister Anurag Thakur, had suggested the use of bullets against “traitors” and “terrorists”. At a rally of Anurag Thakur, slogans of “Goli maaro sa*** ko” were raised. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and BJP’s star campaigner Yogi Adityanath also have his approval to using bullets to deal with dissenters.
On January 30, a 17-year-old school student from Uttar Pradesh had fired a crude pistol at unarmed protesters at Jamia Millia University, with dozens of policemen watching. Twodays later, a 25-year-old man fired in the air at Shaheen Bagh, shouting “Jai Sri Ram”. The police later claimed he was a member of the Aam Aadmi Party.
After a slow morning, where his BJP rival led, Mr Khan had shot ahead. Around noon, he tweeted, “Leading by 72,000 votes after the 13th round”.
Delhi voted on Saturday, and today’s counting of votes indicates another sweeping victory for Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party. The BJP, which hoped to win 55 seats is currently leading in 10-plus seats. AAP is ahead I 55-plus seats.