Shashi Tharoor takes aim at Kejriwal over ‘silence’ on CAA protests

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DPCC chief Subhash Chopra with senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor in New Delhi Friday. (Express Photo by Prem Nath Pandey)

Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor Friday accused Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal of not taking a “strong” stand against the Citizenship Amendment Act so he could reap political benefits. “Kejriwal perhaps wants both pro- and anti-CAA people on his side so he did not take any strong stand on it. On what basis should people vote for him, if he cannot speak about the issue? If the CM of the state is not able to take a stand on the issue, then on what basis should he get votes from the public? Who is stopping you from meeting injured students? By not saying anything or avoiding statements, you will not get a free pass,” Tharoor said at a press conference on Friday.

He claimed Kejriwal had earlier said Delhi Police did not stop the violence in JNU as it had orders not to intervene, and asked who was stopping him from taking a stand and showing sympathy with the students.

“Some years ago, Kejriwal tweeted about Sheila (Dikshit) ji — we do not want such a helpless Chief Minister. Let him read his own tweet now. Do we want such a helpless CM? Do parents want such a helpless CM who, when their children are facing lathis, does not meet them?” he said.

The AAP did not respond to Tharoor’s remarks.

On the violence at Jamia Millia Islamia and JNU, he said: “This kind of behaviour was seen in Germany in 1930 when masked students went in and beat up the other students on the behest of a political party. It is absolutely shocking that in one incident, police go on a rampage to destroy the university and on the other hand, they are instructed not to enter the university as the attackers are on the Right. The action of the police is reprehensible.”

“The Congress has been very open on CAA. We have been saying both in Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha that introducing a religious test for citizenship is a fundamental betrayal to the spirit of the freedom struggle. This will be no longer the India Mahatma Gandhi fought to free and not the India Dr Ambedkar spoke about eloquently in the Assembly. We don’t believe we are speaking for one small section of India; we are speaking for the whole of India. You can’t reduce the issue of CAA to one religion alone,” he said.

He also accused the BJP of trying to polarise the capital before the elections. “The intention of the BJP before almost every election is to create polarisation. We hope the voters of Delhi resist any such move,” he said.