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Anger aimed at Arvind Kejriwal concerning Delhi violence

Kejriwal has been posting tweets, urging the Delhi residents to remain quiet or requesting the Centre to call the army

By Subhankar Chowdhury in Calcutta
  • Published 27.02.20, 2:06 AM
  • Updated 27.02.20, 2:06 AM
  • 2 mins read
Protest against the violence in Delhi at the Gandhi statue on Mayo Road on Wednesday. Picture by Pradip Sanyal

People who gathered at the base of Mahatma Gandhi’s statute on Wednesday to protest the bloodshed in Delhi directed their ire at Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, more than anyone else.

The protesters shared their disappointment with Kejriwal, whose thumping victory in the Delhi Assembly elections they had celebrated barely a fortnight ago.

“Arvind Kejriwal has been the biggest let down. He has let us all down — those who voted for him and those like us who thought his narrative on good governance meant that he was opposed to divisive elements. I am in a state of shock,” said Sayantani Adhikari, who teaches history at Sadhan Chandra Mahavidyalaya in South 24-Parganas.

Adhikari, who is against the Citizenship Amendment Act, has been to the protests against the new citizenship matrix in Park Circus as well as in Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh.

“I am equally disappointed with Atishi, who we considered a stellar performer for the (Kejriwal’s) Aam Aadmi Party not so long ago. She and the other young leader, Raghav Chadha, have not bothered to say anything at a time they were expected to take a moral stand. Are they any better than Kejriwal?” Adhikari asked.

Many accused Kejriwal of looking the other way while his city was being bloodied. “Just like chief minister Narendra Modi had allegedly done in Gujarat 2002,” said Barna Mandal, who had joined the AAP inspired by the party’s call for change but later quit.

“Police may not be under him but as chief minister, Kejriwal could have led a peace march in the areas wreaked by violence and arson over the past three days. If you can organise mohalla clinics, why can’t you lead a peace march there?” she asked.

An elderly woman pointed out that many of those killed over the past two days in Delhi would have voted for the AAP. “Does Kejriwal think it’s enough to post a series of tweets? At one level I am happy I can take a moral stand on the carnage in Delhi and the CAA, unlike the AAP leaders,” said Mita Bhattacharya, who joined the protest at the base of Gandhi statue on Mayo Road because “who can sit quiet seeing the violence in Delhi?”.

Kejriwal posted tweets, urging the Delhi residents to maintain calm and appealing to the Centre to call in the army.

Congress leader Ajay Maken put out tweets telling Kejriwal what to do. Establishing a helpline “directly under you” for any complaint of police inaction and calling an all-party meeting were some of Maken’s suggestions.

Faisal Khan, a Class XII student who was at the protest venue, said sarcastically: “Kejriwalji had boasted about improving hospitals during the election campaign. Perhaps he knew that the hospitals would be needed soon.”