Shah concedes BJP leaders should not have made remarks like goli maaro and Indo-Pak match


New Delhi: Two days after the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) won the Delhi assembly polls by a landslide, Union home minister Amit Shah conceded on Thursday that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders should not have made remarks like “goli maaro” (shoot them) and “Indo-Pak” match in the election campaign, accepting that these may have played a part in the party’s defeat.

“Such statements should not have been made. Our party has distanced itself from such remarks,” Shah, the former BJP chief considered the party’s principal election strategist, said at an event organized by Times Now television channel.

“It is possible that our performance may have suffered because of this,” he said.

In the highly charged campaign for the Delhi elections, the BJP made national security one of its main planks and targeted protestors against the Citizenship (Amendment) who have gathered in the Shanheen Bagh area, projecting them as anti-national. AAP won the polls with 62 seats in the 70-member state assembly, leaving the BJP stranded at single digits with the remaining eight, after campaigning on local issues such as education,.health care and affordable electricity and water supply.

At Thursday’s event, Shah added that the BJP does not fight elections only for victory or defeat, but believes in expanding its ideology through the polls.

Shah said his assessment of the Delhi elections had gone wrong but asserted that the result of the polls was not a reflection on the CAA or the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Strongly defending the CAA, which provides for Indian citizenship to persecuted non-Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, the home minister said there was no provision in the new law that would divest the citizenship of Indian Muslims.

“We have never discriminated against anyone on the ground of religion. There is no provision in the CAA which says that citizenship of Muslims will be revoked. Don’t just criticise the CAA, but discuss it on the basis of merits. CAA is neither anti-Muslim nor anti-minority. I am ready to meet anyone, but discussions need to happen on merit. Unfortunately, nobody wants to come forward and discuss CAA,” he said.

The Union home minister said anyone who wanted to discuss issues related to the CAA with him could seek an appointment from his office. “(We) will give time within three days,” he added.

Shah also said that the government had so far not taken any decision on preparing a nationwide NRC, and made it clear that those unwilling to show their documents during the National Population Register (NPR) exercise, which gets underway on April 1, were free to do so. The NRC is aimed at identifying illegal immigrants and the NPR is a biometric repository of people resident in India.


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