Last month’s Hindu-Muslim clashes in the national capital’s eastern edge in Trilokpuri, followed now by the tension between the two communities in the city’s northwest in Bawana on the eve of Muharram, are part of a pattern, say the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party, the political rivals of the BJP.
Both parties have accused RSS-affiliates of fomenting tension in the run-up to the Assembly elections in Delhi, pointing out that the communal riots that broke out in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls played a key role in delivering a whopping 71 of total 80 seats to the BJP.
The assessment of these parties is bolstered by the BJP’s reluctance to seek elections in Delhi even though no party has succeeded in mustering the numbers to form a government. The BJP has, in fact, used the almost year-long President’s rule that followed the resignation of the AAP government in Delhi to stress that there is no hurry to hold the elections.
Last week, the Congress alleged that the BJP, the RSS and affiliated organisations had been deliberately fomenting communal trouble ahead of local elections in many States, just as they had done in Uttar Pradesh.
“(We want to) ask why does this pattern, repetition occur before elections in so many parts of the country with monotonous regularity? What is happening is a combination of subtle imagery of hidden symbolism, innuendo, insinuation, provocation to create a surcharged atmosphere in many parts of the country seeing elections, big or small,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, stressing, “It has happened in U.P., it is happening in Delhi, which has experienced calm and peace for decades.”
He also pointed out that “polarisation attempts are being made either directly or in hushed tones”. “We hear the name of a BJP MP here and an RSS office-bearer there, a Bajrang Dal post holder here and so on. The pattern is unmistakable. The role of Sunil Kumar Vaidya needs to be answered. There are reports that he had convened a meeting on Diwali night and the trouble started after that,” he said.
The AAP, which had formed the government last year with the help of the Congress, is also of the view that there was a deliberate attempt to vitiate the atmosphere. Echoing Mr. Singhvi’s views, AAP leader Prashant Bhushan told The Hindu , “There is a pattern emerging all over the country prior to elections – organisations affiliated to the BJP are deliberately trying to stir up communal tension; they have become very aggressive.”
Mr. Bhushan also said “communal violence and tension may be their principal focus but they are also browbeating those who do not believe in their world view. Recently, a coffee shop in north Kerala’s Kozhikode was vandalised by a group of people who criticised the public display of affection by some couples there.”