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‘BJP Ko Current Laga’: Amanatullah Silences Haters With Huge Win

The high margin of votes indicate that not just Muslims, but even Hindu residents voted for Khan in Okhla.

Updated
India
3 min read
AAP’s Amanatullah Khan has defeated BJP’s Braham Singh in Delhi elections.
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“BJP left no stone unturned to spread hate. This is a win for the two crore people of Delhi. The people have given current to Amit Shah and his party,” said Aam Admi Party’s Amanatullah Khan, who won from the Okhla seat.

Khan’s win from Okhla, where two epicentres of anti-CAA protests — Shaheen Bagh and Jamia Millia Islamia are located — comes as a sore defeat for the BJP.

Khan defeated BJP’s Brahm Singh and won Okhla with a margin of over 88,497 votes on Tuesday, 11 February — one of the highest margins by which any candidate has won in this election.
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‘Development Won Over Politics’

While talking about his lead in the initial trends, Khan said that the people have voted for politics of development.

“The votes have gone towards development. AAP worked with everyone together. We practised the politics of love, and not hate. Today, development has won over politics.”
Amanatullah Khan, AAP leader

For Khan, winning the seat is a strong comeback, particularly against the backdrop of hate speech by BJP ministers and two shooting incidents in the area.

BJP’s Campaign a Failure?

In their campaign for the Delhi elections, BJP made concerted efforts to discredit the protests at Shaheen Bagh.

BJP’s IT cell head Amit Malviya claimed that the protesters were being bribed with Biryani and Rs 500, while BJP MP Parvesh Verma went on to say that the protesters will “enter your home, rape and kill your sisters and daughters”.

Home Minister Amit Shah, in a rally, said, “Press the button of lotus so hard that the current makes the Shaheen Bagh protesters run away on the very evening of 8 February.”

Anurag Thakur made headlines when he raised slogans of “Goli Maaro,” in a campaign rally. Both, Verma and Thakur invited action from the Election Commission and were banned from campaigning for their controversial remarks.

Talking about Shaheen Bagh, Khan now says that even though BJP tried to politicise the issue, they failed. 

Tajinder Bagga, who has lost the Hari Nagar seat to AAP’s Raj Kumari Dhillon, had tweeted on 6 February, “Wo keh rahein hai Delhi mai 100 Shaheen Bagh banayenge, Jab tak Hari Nagar mai hu kisi ki takat nahi yahan ek bhi Shaheen Bagh banaa sake. (They say that they will create 100 Shaheen Baghs in Delhi. Till the time I am in Hari Nagar, I won’t let another Shaheen Bagh come up).”

The elections results show that campaigns of several BJP leaders, attempting to polarise voters along religious and communal lines, did not appeal to Delhi’s voters.

Sizable Chunk of Hindu Votes

Okhla registered a voter turnout of 58.83 percent on 8 February. The constituency is a Muslim-dominated seat with the community making up 40% of the population.

Khan’s win by over 70,000 votes, indicates that not just Muslims, but a considerable chunk of Hindu residents in the area played a key role in bringing him to power.  

The anti-CAA protesters have questioned Kejriwal's tacit silence on CAA, and have more often than not, said that the CM has refrained from extending support to the movement. Nonetheless, his silence did not have any adverse effect on Khan’s electoral prospects.

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A Firm Kejriwal Loyalist

An AAP source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Quint that Khan is said to be Kejriwal’s most loyal MLA and has stood by the AAP chief through tough situations. Most notably, he was swift to defend Kejriwal during his altercation with Manoj Tiwari at the inauguration of the Signature Bridge in North East Delhi.

The source revealed that Kejriwal has also protected Khan on many occassions. In 2017, Khan was suspended for his comments against Kumar Vishwas, one of the founding members of the party. Khan was, however, reinstated later. The decision to reinstate Khan had irked Vishwas, who had made his unhappiness public. Even then, Kejriwal defended Khan and tried to contain the conflict between the two leaders.

Now in 2020, AAP’s developmental pitch coupled with BJP’s polarising campaign seems to have worked in Khan’s favour, who has retained his home ground.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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