India

Prashant Kishor Pokes Amit Shah After "Shaheen Bagh Feels Current" Remark

Prashant Kishor Pokes Amit Shah After

Prashant Kishor has been routinely criticizing the citizenship law. (File)

New Delhi:

Amit Shah's comment on "pressing the button (voting) with anger" during the Delhi election to make a point against anti-CAA protesters inspired a sharp retort from Prashant Kishor, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)'s election strategist and the number two leader of BJP's Bihar ally Janata Dal United (JDU).

"EVM buttons will be pressed with just love in Delhi on February 8. It should be a mild current, though, so brotherhood and friendship is not endangered," Prashant Kishor tweeted in Hindi this morning, in response to the Union Home Minister's widely reported remarks at an election rally in Delhi last evening.

Amit Shah made the comments while lashing out at the Shaheen Bagh protest, where women and children have been freezing nights for over a month in a peaceful campaign against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act or CAA, the new law that gives citizenship to non-Muslim minorities from Muslim-majority Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan if they escaped religious persecution and arrived in India before 2015. Protesters across the country fear the law will be used to target Muslims.

The Shaheen Bagh protest has come to symbolize nationwide anger against the law.

"When you press the button (on the voting machine) on February 8, do so with such anger that its current is felt at Shaheen Bagh," Mr Shah said in his rally.

"Your vote to the BJP candidate will make Delhi and the country safe and prevent thousands of incidents like Shaheen Bagh," Mr Shah was quoted as saying by news agency PTI while campaigning for the BJP candidate in Babarpur constituency.

Mr Kishor, credited with crafting poll victories for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Nitish Kumar and Amarinder Singh, is handling the campaign of Arvind Kejriwal's AAP, which is in direct contest with battle with the BJP in Delhi.

Mr Kishor has been routinely criticizing the citizenship law and the National Register for Citizens (NRC) even though it sets him at odds with his party chief Nitish Kumar, the Chief Minister of Bihar.

Another JDU leader who has been a vocal CAA critic like Mr Kishor - Pavan Varma - last week wrote an open letter to Nitish Kumar challenging him on his party's stand on CAA and revealing his private views about ally BJP. Mr Varma received a massive public snub for his efforts, with Nitish Kumar saying: "He is free to go and join any party he likes, my best wishes." Sources said the words were a message to all dissenters within the party.

Voting for the 70-seat Delhi assembly will be held on February 8 and the results will be declared three days later.