A pamphlet asking Muslim residents living in the Bawana assembly constituency of Delhi to vote for Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the upcoming by-polls created sensation earlier today. The pamphlet was shared on social media by some media outlets, and it showed an ‘appeal to Muslim brothers’ by Imran Hussain, who is a cabinet minister in the Kejriwal government:
The pamphlet made a communal appeal to Muslims to vote for AAP, as any division in the votes of the Muslim community could mean a result like that in Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, which were swept by the BJP. The pamphlet also said that Muslims can’t be defeated if they voted together.
The pamphlet further made blatantly communal remarks like Muslims traditionally ruling over Delhi for thousands of years and that the community still held the ‘key to power’ in the city. It asked the Muslim community to be way of enemies and vote only for Arvind Kejriwal i.e. for the AAP candidate in the elections that will take place day after tomorrow.
The pamphlet was shown as being issued by the minority wing of the Delhi unit of AAP.
The overtly and unashamedly communal tone of the pamphlet is clearly a violation of Supreme Court order that bans canvassing of votes in the name of any community. The court had ruled that any such appeal will lead to disqualification of the candidate.
Delhi BJP spokesperson Tajinder Bagga demanded a case to be filed against AAP supremo and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for issuing such communal appeal:
— Tajinder Bagga (@TajinderBagga) August 21, 2017
Incidentally, this is not the for the first time when AAP has been embroiled in a communal controversy. In July 2014, posters making appeal to Muslims to support AAP were put up in Delhi. The party then had disassociated itself from the posters and had blamed one Amanatullah Khan for putting up the posters, who had confessed to have done that and was reported as a volunteer of the party.
AAP is trying its best to win the Bawana by-polls as it will give confidence to the party that lost badly in the assembly elections held in Goa and Punjab earlier this year, and later they lost the MCD elections as well in Delhi. The party had also lost a by-poll for the Rajouri Garden seat.
Recently Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was seen almost ‘threatening’ the voters of Bawana, that they must vote for AAP, because an MLA from any other party will not be able to get the state government to work for the people of the constituency:
Where CM Kejriwal threatens voters in a by-election that AAP Govt will do no work for the constituency if BJP/Cong MLA elected. Thugs! pic.twitter.com/UYpwLK7Ayb
— हम भारत के लोग (@India_Policy) August 18, 2017
AAP leader and MLA Alka Lamba too was caught spreading a fake survey that predicted the party winning in Bawana. Now this poster has added another controversy to the party’s kitty ahead of the by-polls.
AAP had not officially reacted to the controversy or clarified about the communal poster at the time of filing this report.
UPDATE: Imram Hussain, the AAP MLA who was shown as making the appeal in the poster has denied having made such an appeal. He has termed the poster ‘fake’ and demanded police action. His tweets clarifying and demanding the same were shared by the official Twitter account of Delhi unit of AAP:
Meanwhile Delhi BJP has already filed complaint with the Election Commission against Arvind Kejriwal for the posters.