Congress eyes Shaheen Bagh route to make comeback in Delhi

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New Delhi: With Shaheen Bagh becoming an epicentre of anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests and scores of politicians making a beeline to express solidarity with the protesters there, the Congress is eyeing a comeback on Delhi Assembly seats with considerable Muslim voters by riding on the protest wave.

Okhla, Seelampur, Matia Mahal, Ballimaran, Mustafabad and Chandni Chowk seats — once Congress strongholds but now represented by the Aam Aadmi Party in the outgoing Assembly — fall in minority-dominated areas.

The Congress knows that its comeback in Delhi politics depends on the Muslim support, though it is finding the going tough to select consensus candidates amid too many claimants to these seats.

The Muslims account for 13 per cent of the Delhi population. As many as five of the 70 Assembly seats are considered ‘Muslim seats’. The party is therefore searching for suitable candidates who can help attract minority community votes to it.

Though the ruling Aam Aadmi Party has so far maintained a distance from the protest and issued occasional statements only, the Congress has expressed support for the protest, with Congress leaders like Sandeep Dikshit and Shashi Tharoor visiting the protest site this week.

Dikshit on Thursday maintained that “our party has taken a principled stand against the CAA. So, we have only shown solidarity to the movement; nobody wants to dilute the issue”.

The Congress has categorically rejected the contention that it is using the protests against the CAA for political dividends.

Tharoor has even questioned the silence of the AAP on the CAA. The only AAP leader who has visited Shaheen Bagh is the party’s Okhla MLA Amanatullah Khan.

“The protest should not be politicised,” Khan said while addressing protesters in Seelampur.


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