Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur triggered a row on Monday by purportedly using a controversial slogan while addressing an election rally in Rithala in Delhi.
A video posted on popular microblogging platform Twitter shows Thakur shouting ‘Desh ke gaddaron ko’, to which the crowd responds ‘goli maro saalon ko’ (Shoot the traitors of the nation)’.
The slogan, ‘Desh ke gaddaron ko, goli maro saalon ko’ (Shoot the traitors of the nation) first came into prominence when it was used by former AAP politician Kapil Mishra, now contesting the forthcoming Delhi Assembly polls from Model Town constituency as a BJP candidate, at a rally in the capital on December 21 last year in support of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
The slogan apparently targeted those who take part in anti-CAA protests, and was condemned by civil society members and other quarters for inciting violence and politics of hatred. The Delhi BJP had then distanced itself from the controversy and said they had nothing to do with Mishra’s march.
The slogan was also raised at a pro-CAA rally in Nagpur addressed by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari in December and during violence at the Jawaharlal Nehru campus, when masked men entered the premises of the central university and unleashed violence for close to three hours, chanting slogans such as Desh ke gaddaro ko, goli maaro saalo ko; Naxalwad murdabad and Na Maowad, Na Naxalwan, Sabse Upar Rashtrawad.
Moreover, with Shaheen Bagh emerging as the centre of anti-CAA protests in Delhi, Home Minister Amit Shah has repeatedly raked up the indefinite protest site in his campaign speeches in the capital, urging voters to choose the lotus symbol on voting day, so that protesters have to leave the place by the evening of February 11.
Several users took to twitter to denounce Thakur:
It remains to be seen if the Election Commission takes note of the event and takes appropriate action against Thakur under the relevant sections of the Model Code of Conduct.