‘AAP is Useless’: Karawal Nagar East Chooses BJP, Mustafabad Votes Cong; MCD Verdict in Riot-affected Wards

Three wards of Northeast Delhi, which were affected by the 2020 riots, Maujpur and Karawal Nagar East and West, elected BJP candidates to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi.

In Ward 228 of Maujpur, BJP’s Anil Gaur defeated AAP’s Anil Jain and Congress’s Vinod Kumar.

Shimla Devi, a BJP candidate, was elected in Ward 241 Karawal Nagar -East. She defeated AAP candidate Mukesh Yadav and Congress candidate Dharmender Bhaiya. The BJP also won Ward 248 Karawal Nagar West. Satpal Singh of the BJP defeated AAP’s Jitender Bansal and Congress’ Saroj Baghel.

What happened in the 2020 riots?

On the eve of February 23, riots broke out in Northeast Delhi, allegedly between anti- and pro-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protesters. Over the next ten days, the violence took a communal turn, resulting in the deaths of more than 53 people. More than 200 people were injured. Shops and houses were torched and even places of worship were targeted.

The same day, hours before communal riots broke out in northeast Delhi, BJP leader Kapil Mishra issued an “ultimatum” to the police to remove anti-CAA protests that were blocking roads in the area. Citizenship Act, he asked people to assemble at Maujpur Chowk in support of the CAA. It was widely reported as an inflammatory factor.

53 people died in the 2020 riots (File photo/Reuters)

Within hours of Mishra’s speech, anti- and pro-CAA protesters clashed in Karawal Nagar, Maujpur Chowk, Babarpur and Chand Bagh. Police lathicharged and fired tear gas shells to disperse the crowd. The next afternoon, violent clashes broke out in several areas of Northeast Delhi, including Gokalpuri and Kardampuri. Arson, vandalism of property, stone pelting and burning of places of worship were all hallmarks of the clashes. While attempting to control the protesters, Delhi Police Head Constable Ratan Lal was shot dead.

Thousands of people attacked petrol pumps in areas like Bhajanpura with petrol bombs, sticks and weapons. Violence was also reported from Seelampur, Jaffrabad, Maujpur, Kardampuri, Babarpur, Gokalpuri and Shiv Puri.

How was the mood of Northeast Delhi before the elections?

It is believed that the memories and effects of violence have had an impact on the elections.

According to a PTI report, there was ‘untapped anger’ against the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), with people across the religious divide calling sitting MLA Haji Yunus in Mustafabad a “fugitive”. Haji Yasin, 55, an automobile agency owner, said people in Mustafabad, Brijpuri and Shiv Vihar adjacent Mustafabad spent their savings to repaint and restore burnt and damaged buildings and places of worship, but the government Didn’t get any help.

“You are worthless and Yunus is worse than that. He is a fugitive. After the violence broke out, he fled to his Laxmi Nagar home and did not come here (his constituency) even once. Students from Jamia Millia University, Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind and Sikh NGOs helped rebuild life here. Why would anyone vote for his party?

The Mustafabad assembly constituency is divided into five municipal wards – Mustafabad, Dayalpur, Karawal Nagar East, Nehru Vihar and Brijpuri. The Mustafabad municipal ward is reserved for women and saw a five-seat contest in which CPI(M) and AIMIM also fielded candidates.

all India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) is contesting from 16 seats, including Mustafabad.

The Asaduddin Owaisi-led party had contested the civic polls on nine wards in 2017, but to no avail.

Earlier campaigning for his party’s candidates in northeast Delhi, Owaisi hit out at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, alleging that he defamed Muslims across the country and was the “Narendra Modi of 2013”. On Sunday, he alleged that Kejriwal disappeared during the riots in the national capital and spoke against those protesting the Citizenship (Amendment) Act at Shaheen Bagh.

“I feel that the places where Muslims, Dalits and Adivasis live remain underdeveloped and dirty. There are open drains and mountains of garbage in these places, but there is no proper arrangement for clean drinking water, children’s education and hospitals… AAP seeks votes against BJP in such areas. Elsewhere, they ask people to vote on the basis of development,” Owaisi had said.

A supporter at the CPI(M) poll booth said: “People will vote against the communal agenda of the BJP and the double-faced politics of the AAP.” He said the CPI(M) helped the riot-affected people financially and legally, while the major parties remained absent.

A few meters ahead of Shiv Vihar Tiraha, Ravi Kumar was in his garage, which was gutted during the riots. Shiv Vihar is part of the Karawal Nagar-East ward. The 37-year-old Kumar said that generally people do not remember the contribution of corporators. They vote based on the work done by the MLAs and MPs.

“In our ward, especially, people are upset with AAP MLA Yunus. He didn’t even show his face after the violence. (Former Congress MLA from Mustafabad) Hasan Ahmed and (his successor) Jagdish Pradhan (of the BJP) had done a lot of work in the area,” he said.

Interrupting, 28-year-old Bilal Shah said the fight would be between the BJP and the Congress.

Mohsin Sahib Nizamuddin, the caretaker of Shiv Vihar’s Aulia Masjid, which came under fire during the riots, said the riots were a conspiracy to displace Muslims, but the conspirators failed to achieve their goals.

No one cares about Dalits and Muslims. The road (in front of the mosque) is full of potholes. The strong foul smell emanating from open drains is intolerable. Nothing has been done in the last seven years of AAP government or 15 years of BJP rule in MCD. At least the Congress used to listen to the problems of the people.

Muezzin Mohammad Parvez Alam said that the AAP government did not help at all, repeated requests for reconstruction of the road were turned down and the Lt Governor was obstructing the works.

Who lives where now?

In addition to the victories mentioned earlier, these are some of the victories in the key areas:

  • Congress candidate Sabila Begum has won from Ward No.243 Mustafabad.
  • BJP’s Punit Sharma has won from Ward No. 242 Dayalpur (Dayalpur).
  • BJP candidate Arun Singh Bhati has won from Ward No.244 Nehru Vihar.
  • Congress’s Nazia Khatoon has won from Ward No. 245 Brijpuri (ब्रिजपुरी).
  • Shimla Devi of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has won from Ward No. 241 Karawal Nagar-East.
  • AAP candidate Rekha Rani has won from Ward No.230 Bhajanpura (भाजनपुरा).
  • Independent candidate Shakeela Begum has won from Ward No. 225 Seelampur (Seelampur).
  • Congress candidate Shagufta Chaudhary Zubair has won from Ward No.227 Chauhan Banger (चौहान बैंगर).

With inputs from PTI

read all latest explainer Here