At a day when the entire left liberal lobby got together in celebrating AAP’s Delhi Assembly polls victory, several reports have suggested that Shaheen Bagh which was witnessing massive protests and a major roadblock for around the past two months might be packing up now.
According to an Amar Ujala report, the protest site turned desolate since Tuesday morning when the Assembly poll results started coming out. As AAP won the Delhi Assembly elections, it seems that Shaheen Bagh protests have started folding up even though they are nowhere near their ostensible political goals- the repeal of CAA and some kind of a denouncement of the NRC.
The Shaheen Bagh protests trace their roots in the rumouring and fear mongering against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), after the passage of the Amendment legislation in the month of December.
The roadblock started on December 15- round about the same time when the AAP MLAs and leaders also came under the scanner for being spotted among anti CAA rioters.
AAP’s MLA from the Okhla constituency, in which Shaheen Bagh is situated was spotted at violent anti CAA protests, amid even a complaint was filed against the lawmaker for inciting violence at the Jamia Milia Islamia University.
While the violence in Delhi was clearly a handiwork of the anti CAA lobby, the Delhi Deputy Chief Minister, Manish Sisodia had tried to polarise the atmosphere further by spreading fake news and claiming that it was Delhi Police which had burnt DTC buses during the anti CAA protests.
Even in anti CAA-violence at Seelampur, all links pointed towards the AAP. The Kejriwal led party even rewarded Abdul Rehman, who was booked for leading the violent mobs of Seelampur and then encouraging them for resorting to violence.
The Shaheen Bagh protests were being played up by the mainstream media and the entire left liberal ecosystem, while the AAP was occupied in polarising the Muslim vote bank by instilling a false sense of fear and painting a draconian picture of the CAA.
The same sense of polarisation that AAP leaders seem to have instilled, manifested itself at Shaheen Bagh where children were heard chanting ‘Azadi’ slogans and threatening to teach a lesson to the Hindus.
As far as the Shaheen Bagh protests are concerned, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) also revealed a clear AAP-Congress-PFI link when it came to financing the protests and roadblock at Shaheen Bagh.
The party never really came out in support of the protests explicitly, expect when Manish Sisodia declared that he stood with the people of Shaheen Bagh and that too only towards the fag end of the election campaign.
However, even without admitting that Shaheen Bagh was essentially an extension of its election campaign or even that the two had a deep nexus, the AAP has benefitted greatly from the Shaheen Bagh protests and roadblock.
As far as the election results are concerned, the AAP won from the Muslim-majority constituencies rather handsomely. In Okhla itself, it has secured 81.64 per cent vote share.
Even in other such Muslim dominated constituencies, the AAP grabbed a healthy share of the total votes cast. In Matia Mahal, it has grabbed 76.05 per cent of the total votes cast. Similarly, in Chandni Chowk, it has clocked a vote share of 66.94 per cent, while in Babarpur, the Kejriwal led party got 65.26 per cent of the total votes. Among other such constituencies, the AAP secured 64.65 per cent of the votes in Ballimaran, in Seelampur it has secured 56.1 per cent of the total votes and in Mustafabad too it has managed 53.47 vote share.
Though the Kejriwal led AAP benefitted greatly in all such constituencies, the party supremo Kejriwal played his cards really well.
Days before the national capital went to polls, he started shifting the blame for Shaheen Bagh protests and roadblock. Maintaining a safe distance from Shaheen Bagh protests, Kejriwal even said, “If Delhi Police was under our jurisdiction, we would have opened the Shaheen Bagh roads in 2 hours.”
The protests also witnessed people carrying their children to the site and expose them to the harsh cold winter. As a result infants died from the adverse affects of cold weather, but the parents vowed to continue their fight against CAA.
AAP gained substantially from the Shaheen Bagh protests, but Kejriwal was smart enough to also ensure that there was no collateral damage to the party’s image, by distancing himself only days before the Assembly polls.
Now that the elections are over, the protest site wears a desolate look. But only days ago, you could have heard people saying how they have lost faith in everything and that the protests won’t abate unless the Modi government relents on the CAA and NRC.
They were claiming that they won’t leave the protest site even if the Supreme Court asked them to do so.
Today, the CAA has not been repealed, NRC has not even been introduced till now and therefore the question of giving up on it doesn’t really arise, but Shaheen Bagh protest organisers seem to be in a hurry to dissolve the protests.
It may be mentioned that in 2015, a wave of ‘Intolerance’ had emerged right before the Bihar Assembly polls with writers and poets returning their awards. But as the BJP suffered a defeat in the polls, the ‘Intolerance gang’ vanished in the thin air and all of a sudden, there was no ‘intolerance’ cry against the Modi government.
In the coming days, the Shaheen Bagh protests might fully fizzle out, though they might try to occupy the spotlight once or twice, just like the Jamia student-activists made it a point to end with a bang after the Delhi Assembly polls.
Shaheen Bagh roadblock has met its object- grabbing local and Western media attention, and maybe even more importantly, AAP victory in Delhi Assembly polls. Now, the Lutyens’ elites will, at least for the time being, project Kejriwal as PM Modi’s competitors.
To put it briefly and succinctly- the AAP created anti CAA fears and mobilised Muslim votes, Kejriwal benefitted greatly from the protests but distanced himself so that AAP benefitted from polarisation but didn’t appear as the one fanning the flames and finally the party won Assembly polls with a healthy vote share in Muslim dominated constituencies.
Now, with the protesters having achieved their end ‘objective’, it is pretty clear that although the protesters have won a small battle, however, in turn they have a lost the war and it is pretty evident that the Modi government won’t be rolling back the CAA.