Anurag Thakur's 'Goli Maaro...' chant invites trouble, he remains defiant
Union Minister Anurag Thakur behaved irresponsibly at an election rally when he openly called for shooting the "traitors" of the country. A clip of his speech at a rally in Rithala, North West Delhi, went viral, garnering nothing but condemnation. But, Thakur, who is the Minister of State in Finance Ministry, remained defiant and asked to gauge the national capital's mood through the clip.
For those in the dark, the entire controversial slogan goes as: Desh ke gaddaron ko, goli maaron sa***n ko, loosely translated to "Shoot those who betray the nation". And Thakur assumed it was appropriate to incite violence at a poll rally, meant for Delhi's February 8 elections. Though Thakur never said the latter part of the slogan, he prompted the crowd to do so.
The rally where Thakur instigated violence was attended by a flurry of BJP leaders, including the candidate from Rithala Manish Chaudhary. Union Home Minister Amit Shah also addressed the same event later. Naturally, Thakur was asked whom he labeled as "traitors". He replied, "First you should watch the entire video... Then you should see the mood of the people of Delhi."
The speech gave opposition leaders ammunition to target BJP. Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi tweeted it was unbecoming of a young leader like Thakur to spew poisonous slogans. "This seems to be the modus operandi of the entire party," he wrote. Similarly, Shiv Sena's Priyanka Chaturvedi suggested Thakur concentrates more on the economic crisis in the country, and not on shooting down traitors.
जब ‘ग़द्दारों’ को गोली मारने से फ़ुरसत मिल जाएगी उम्मीद है देश के जून्यर वित्त मंत्री गिरती हुई अर्थव्यव्स्था के कारणों को बजट के माध्यम से गोली मारेंगे।— Priyanka Chaturvedi (@priyankac19) January 28, 2020
या फिर से देश को अच्छे दिन की गोली मिलेगी?
The comments caught the attention of Election Commission too. The top polling body has asked the Returning Officer from Rithala to file a report on the controversial speech. If charges against Thakur are proved, he will become the second BJP leader to be pulled up by EC. Earlier this month, BJP's candidate from Model Town, Kapil Mishra, was penalized.
Mishra was banned from campaigning for 48 hours, starting at 5 pm on January 25, for comparing elections with a match between India and Pakistan. He had also called Shaheen Bagh, the place where protests are happening against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) for weeks, "mini Pakistan". In fact, Mishra had also chanted the "Desh ke Gaddaron..." slogan at a gathering, meant to support CAA.
With elections approaching fast, the protest at Shaheen Bagh has become a major election issue. BJP claims Congress and the ruling Aam Aadmi Party are amplifying voices that call for splitting India. Yesterday, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said millions of people were affected by the protest of a few. He said the "peaceful majority" was being suppressed.
Falling in line with the party's stand, another BJP leader passed controversial remarks about Shaheen Bagh's agitation. On Monday, MP Parvesh Verma said, "If BJP comes to power in Delhi on February 11, we will clear Shaheen Bagh of all protests and protesters within one hour." Not stopping at that, Verma promised to demolish all mosques built on government land within a month.