Kejriwal led Aam Admi Party(AAP) geared up for an election on the plank of development, focusing on education, healthcare, and women safety. In contrast, Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) that was projected to give a tough fight was caught in mudslinging, discrediting Kejriwal's work and propping up Shaheen Bagh at every election rally.
As BJP stuck to its time-tested divisive politics, the party's campaigns largely centred around the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act(CAA) and the protests that followed. On a number of occasions, BJP leaders made communal remarks and asked people to shoot the protesters, in addition to attacking Kejriwal personally, calling him a terrorist.
In many elections rallies, the BJP leaders could be seen launching a scathing attack on the continued sit-in protest at Delhi's Shaheen Bhag - a site that has now become the centre of anti-CAA protests in the country.
On January 27, BJP leader and Union minister, Anurag Thakur, encouraged the audience at a rally in Delhi's Daryaganj to shout an incendiary slogan. In the video of the incident shared online, the minister can be seen asking his supporters to chant "desh ke gaddaron ko…."
Just a day after the incident, BJP MP Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma said that if the prevailing situation at Shaheen Bagh continued, the people would enter homes and rape women. Following these remarks, the Election Commission ordered the removal of both Thakur and Verma from the list of star campaigners of BJP.
#WATCH: BJP MP Parvesh Verma says, "...Lakhs of people gather there (Shaheen Bagh). People of Delhi will have to think & take a decision. They'll enter your houses, rape your sisters&daughters, kill them. There's time today, Modi ji & Amit Shah won't come to save you tomorrow..." pic.twitter.com/1G801z5ZbM— ANI (@ANI) January 28, 2020
The party's national secretary Tarun Chugh on January 29 said that the protesters are using ISIS-like module and referred to Shaheen Bhag as 'Shaitaan Bagh' (devil's place). He added that the slogan 'Desh ke gaddaron ko, goli maaro.... (shoot the traitors of the country)' was not wrong.
#DeshKeGaddaronKoGoliMaaroSaalonKo गलत नहीं है।भारत की अखंडता को किसी को भी तोड़ने नहीं देंगे है।शाहीन बाग के मतलब शैतान बाग है।जैसे ISIS ने महिलाओं,बच्चों का इस्तेमाल किया है ये भी उसी मॉड्यूल को अपना रहे हैं।भारत में हाफ़िज़ सईद के विचारों को बर्दाश्त नहीं किया जाएगा। @ZeeNews— Tarun Chugh (@tarunchughbjp) January 29, 2020
Later, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath joined the bandwagon of BJP leaders suggesting the use of bullets against dissenters. While addressing a rally in Delhi on Saturday, Adityanath, one of the star campaigners in the elections, said that those who attack Kanwariyas (devotees of Lord Shiva) will have to face bullets.
"We do not obstruct anyone's festival or faith. Everyone should be able to celebrate their festivals but within the law. 'Lekin Shiv bhakto par goli chalayega koi vyakti, danga karayega, boli se nahi manega, toh goli se toh maan hi jayega' (If anyone opens fire at devotees of Lord Shiva, causes riots...If they don't listen to talks, they will surely listen to bullets)," the CM had said.
Additionally, slamming Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, Adityanath said that the Delhi CM is behind the protests and that he was serving biryani to the protesters at Shaheen Bhag.
The BJP leaders' attacks on the Delhi CM continued when on January 29, while addressing a rally in Delhi, BJP leader Parvesh Verma compared the Delhi CM to a terrorist. Following this, the Election Commission imposed a 24-hour campaign ban on Verma.
Disregarding EC's notice, Union minister and BJP leader, Prakash Javadekar, called Kejriwal a terrorist on February 3. "Kejriwal makes an innocent face and asks, 'am I a terrorist?' You are a terrorist, there is plenty of proof. You had yourself said you are an anarchist; there is not much difference between an anarchist and terrorist," he had said.