Video Producer and Editor: Shohini Bose
Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener Arvind Kejriwal blasted the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday, 24 March, over the controversy surrounding the Vivek Agnihotri-directed movie 'The Kashmir Files' and the postponement of elections for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).
"The BJP is pasting the posters of one movie throughout the country. This is why you entered politics? What will you tell your children when they ask you what you do for a living? What will you say? That you paste movie posters?" Kejriwal said in the Delhi Assembly on Thursday.
He also attacked Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi for "taking shelter at the feet of Agnihotri."
"If a prime minister of a country has to take shelter at the feet of Vivek Agnihotri despite being in power for 8 years, that means that the PM has not done any work. He has wasted his eight years."
'Why Just Tax-Free, Upload It on YouTube and Make It Free for All'
In the last few days, several states had made 'The Kashmir Files' tax-free. Commenting on the hue and cry over the same, Kejriwal said:
"They (BJP) are saying make The Kashmir Files tax free. I say upload it on Youtube. It will be completely free. Ask Vivek Agnihotri to upload it on Youtube. Then the movie would be free for all. Everyone will watch it in one day. What's the need of making it tax-free then? [sic]"
Mocking the BJP workers, he also said that some people were minting millions in the name of Kashmiri Pandits while they had been left with the menial task of pasting posters.
"In Haryana, a BJP MLA said he would screen the movie for free inside a park. Immediately, Vivek Agnihotri tweeted to Haryana CM ML Khattar informing him about the same and asking him to stop. Some people are earning crores in the name of Kashmiri Pandits. And you guys here have been asked to paste posters. What are you doing? Look at your condition. Open your eyes."
Kejriwal further attacked PM Modi by saying that even Adolf Hitler used to provide his 'chamchas' with jobs.
"What has the BJP provided you? Do your kids have jobs? Did they provide you with food? Electricity? It's Kejriwal who helps you. You also get free electricity. I have given jobs to 12 lakh youth in Delhi. Have improved the condition of schools and hospitals. If anyone is sick in your family, Kejriwal helps with medicines. Not Modi."
'Quit BJP, Join AAP'
He then asked the BJP workers to quit the saffron party and join the AAP.
"My message to all BJP workers and supporters is open your mind, leave the BJP and join AAP. You will get respect, we won't ask you to lie. We will work together towards building the nation. We won't ask you to paste posters of such false films. Do whatever you want but at least stop this promotion of a movie. You don't look good doing so."
'Nation Won't Tolerate BJP's Drama Over MCD Polls'
Speaking about the MCD polls, Kejriwal said that the nation won't tolerate the drama the BJP was doing.
"They say that they're (BJP) the largest party in the world. We're (AAP) the smallest. Still, they got scared! Largest party got scared of the smallest. Contest polls if you have courage."
Kejriwal on Wednesday, 23 March, said that the AAP would quit politics if the BJP allowed the polls to be conducted on time and still won them.
The state election commission (SEC) on 9 March – the day it was to announce the dates for Delhi’s three civic body polls – said that the MCD polls were being deferred, citing a communication from Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal.
Reportedly, Baijal had conveyed to the SEC that the Centre was intending to pass legislation to merge the three municipal corporations of Delhi.
Punjab's newly-elected CM Bhagwant Mann had recently said that no government office would carry photographs of the chief minister. Instead, photos of Bhagat Singh and BR Ambedkar will be put up on the walls of all government offices. Kejriwal informed that the BJP had a problem with that as well.
"BJP is saying why did we only use the photos of Bhagat Singh and BR Ambedkar in government offices in Punjab and why not that of Veer Savarkar? I said that you use the photos of Savarkar and KB Hedgewar, we will use the photos of Ambedkar and Bhagat Singh."
He also informed that LG Anil Baijal had appreciated the work of the Delhi government.
"Our GSDP has increased by 50% which is the highest in any state. Many new programs are being done in schools. We need to work on some issues including water, pollution & roadways."
About Kashmir Files
The Kashmir Files, which was released in the theatres on 11 March stars Anupam Kher, Mithun Chakraborty, and Darshan Kumar in the lead roles. The controversial Bollywood movie is based on the exodus of Kashmiri Hindus in 1990.
The movie that is currently doing well at the box office has also triggered anti-Muslim hate speech and violent sloganeering at several theatres.
Meanwhile, the Centre had on Friday, 18 March, announced that it would provide 'Y' category security cover to the movie's director Vivek Agnihotri all over India.