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‘AAP is Useless’: Karawal Nagar East Chooses BJP, Mustafabad Votes Cong; MCD Verdict in Riot-affected Wards

Three wards in Northeast Delhi, which were affected in the 2020 riots, Maujpur and Karawal Nagar east and west, elected BJP candidates to the Delhi Municipal Corporation.

Anil Gaur of the BJP defeated Anil Jain of the AAP and Vinod Kumar of the Congress in Ward 228 of Maujpur.

Shimla Devi, a BJP candidate, was elected in Ward 241 Karawal Nagar -East. She defeated AAP candidates Mukesh Yadav and Congress candidate Dharmender Bhaiya. The BJP also won Ward 248 Karawal Nagar West. Satpal Singh of the BJP defeated AAP’s Jitender Bansal and Congress’ Saroj Baghel.

What Happened in the 2020 Riots?

On the eve of February 23, riots erupted in Northeast Delhi reportedly between anti-and pro-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protestors. Over the next ten days, the violence took a communal turn, resulting in the deaths of over 53 people. More than 200 people were injured. Shops and homes were set on fire, and even places of worship were targeted.

On the same day, hours before the communal riots in Northeast Delhi erupted, BJP leader Kapil Mishra issued a “ultimatum” to police to remove anti-CAA protests that were blocking roads in the area. In response to the roadblock by those protesting the new citizenship law, he asked people to gather at Maujpur Chowk in support of the CAA. This was widely reported as an instigating factor.

53 casualties were caused in the 2020 riots(File photo/Reuters)

Within hours of Mishra’s speech, anti- and pro-CAA protesters clashed in Karawal Nagar, Maujpur Chowk, Babarpur, and Chand Bagh. To disperse the crowd, police used lathi charges and tear gas. The following afternoon, violent clashes erupted in several Northeast Delhi neighbourhoods, including Gokalpuri and Kardampuri. Arson, property vandalism, stone pelting, and the burning of places of worship were all hallmarks of the clashes. While attempting to control the protestors, Delhi Police head constable Ratan Lal was shot and killed.

Thousands of people attacked petrol pumps in areas such as Bhajanpura, carrying petrol bombs, sticks, and weapons. Seelampur, Jaffrabad, Maujpur, Kardampuri, Babarpur, Gokalpuri, and Shiv Puri also reported violence.

What Was the Mood of Northeast Delhi before Polls?

The memories and impact of the violence has been assumed to have an impact on the polls.

According to a report by PTI, there was ‘unconcealed anger’ against the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), with people across the religious divide calling the incumbent MLA Haji Younus a “deserter” in Mustafabad. People spent their savings to repaint and restore the burnt and damaged buildings and places of worship in Mustafabad, adjoining Brijpuri and Shiv Vihar, but no help came from the government, Haji Yasin, 55, an owner of an automobile agency told PTI.

“AAP is useless and Yunus is even worse. He is a deserter. He fled to his Laxmi Nagar house after the violence erupted and did not come here (his constituency) even once. Students of Jamia Milia University, Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind and Sikh NGOs helped rebuild the lives here. Why would anyone vote for their party,” he said.

The Mustafabad assembly constituency is divided into five municipal wards — Mustafabad, Dayalpur, Karawal Nagar East, Nehru Vihar, and Brijpuri. The Mustafabad municipal ward is reserved for women and had a five-cornered contest, with CPI(M) and AIMIM also fielding their candidates.

The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) is contesting from 16 seats, including Mustafabad.

The Asaduddin Owaisi-led party had contested the civic body polls on nine wards in 2017 but drew a blank.

Campaigning for his party’s candidates in northeast Delhi earlier, Owaisi targeted Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, alleging he defamed Muslims in the entire country and was the “Narendra Modi of 2013.” On Sunday, he alleged that Kejriwal disappeared at the time of riots in the national capital and spoke against those who protested against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act at Shaheen Bagh.

“I find that places where Muslims, Dalits and Adivasis live remain undeveloped and dirty. These places have open drains and mountains of garbage, but there are no proper arrangements for clean drinking water, children’s education and hospitals… The AAP seeks votes against the BJP in such areas. At other places, they ask people to vote on the basis of development,” Owaisi had said.

A supporter at the CPI(M)’s poll booth said: “People will vote against the BJP’s communal agenda and the double-face politics of the AAP.” The CPI(M) helped the riot-affected people financially and legally, while the major parties remained absent, he said.

A few metres ahead at Shiv Vihar Tiraha, Ravi Kumar was at his garage which was burnt to a crisp during the riots. Shiv Vihar is part of the Karawal Nagar-East ward. Kumar, 37, said people generally do not remember the contribution of councillors. They vote on the basis of work done by MLAs and MPs.

“In our ward in particular, people are upset with the AAP MLA Yunus. He did not even show his face after the violence. (Former Congress MLA from Mustafabad) Hasan Ahmed and (his successor) Jagdish Pradhan (of the BJP) had done a lot of work in the area,” he said.

Interrupting, Bilal Shah, 28, said it will be a fight between the BJP and the Congress.

Mohsin Sahab Nizamuddin, the caretaker of the Auliya Masjid in Shiv Vihar which was fire bombed during the riots, said the riots were a conspiracy to displace Muslims but the plotters failed to achieve their goals.

“No one cares for Dalits and Muslims. The road (opposite the masjid) is riddled with holes. The intense stench from the open drains is unbearable. Nothing has been done in the last seven years of the AAP government or the 15 years of the BJP rule in the MCD. The Congress used to listen to the problems of people at least,” he said.

Muezzin Mohd Parvez Alam said the AAP government did not help at all, repeated requests for the reconstruction of the road were junked, and the lieutenant governor is impeding the works.

Who Has Won Where Now?

Apart from the victories mentioned before, these are some wins in key areas:

  • Congress candidate Sabila Begum has won from Ward No.243 Mustafabad (मुस्‍तफाबाद).
  • BJP’s Puneet Sharma has won from Ward No.242 Dayalpur (दयालपुर).
  • BJP candidate Arun Singh Bhati has won from Ward No.244 Nehru Vihar (नेहरू व‍िहार).
  • Nazia Khatoon of the Congress has won Ward No.245 Brij Puri (बृजपुरी).
  • Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s Shimla Devi won from Ward No.241 Karawal Nagar-East.
  • AAP candidate Rekha Rani has won from Ward No.230 Bhajanpura (भजनपुरा).
  • Independent candidate Shakila Begum has won from Ward No.225 Seelampur (सीलमपुर).
  • Congress candidate Shagufta Chaudhary Zubair has won from Ward No.227 Chauhan Banger (चौहान बांगर).

With inputs from PTI

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