New Delhi: From prime-time debates on national TV news channels to morning newspapers, Delhi’s controversial excise policy has been hitting the headlines for the past week. Both opposition BJP and Congress have started increasing pressure on AAP after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) raided Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia’s residence.
The BJP has reformulated its strategy and seems to be in no mood to spare AAP. National spokespersons Sambit Patra and Sudhanshu Trivedi are addressing the media and are asking questions to AAP on the excise policy. BJP Delhi unit and other central leaders have been seen building a narrative against AAP.
Not only on mainstream media and social media, Delhi BJP has also hit the streets against AAP. On 25 August, Delhi BJP protested at various sites in the national capital and burned the effigy of Deputy CM Manish Sisodia. While talking to The Sunday Guardian, a senior BJP functionary said: “We will follow this way till corrupt Manish Sisodia resigns from his position.” Shubhendu Shekhar Avasthi, Delhi BJP spokesperson, said “We will fight on the streets for every single penny they have looted. Why are AAP leaders not answering our questions? We will continue our agitation till Manish Sisodia is asked to resign from his position.”
According to party leaders, the central leadership is keeping a close eye on the whole scenario. The main question which the BJP is raising is, why liquor manufacturers were made into distributors and retailers, why blacklisted companies were given licences, and why the whole liquor business was given to private hands.
AAP has accused BJP of poaching their MLAs. A special session of the Delhi Assembly was called on 26 August, where Delhi’s Deputy CM Manish Sisodia said: “CBI FIR against me is completely fake and the central government is acting like a serial killer to destabilize the state governments.” To counter BJP, AAP has also adopted the same strategy and their leaders are also seen addressing the press conferences to share their narrative. AAP MLA and spokesperson Atishi Marlena and Saurabh Bharadwaj are seen handling the situation on social media as well as on mainstream media.
The Delhi Congress unit, which had been passive for long, has also attacked AAP on the issue of excise policy. Leaders from the Delhi Congress unit staged a protest outside the AAP office and later Delhi Congress chief Anil Choudhry termed Delhi’s Deputy CM as “number one corrupt”.
Congress is planning to intensify its protest against AAP. While talking to The Sunday Guardian, Vikram Lohia, spokesman Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee, said: “We will take up the issue on the streets of the capital. We will hold panchayats in public. We will not stop protesting till Manish Sisodia resigns from his position.”
The Congress leader further said that “it was the Congress party which first took up this issue. Our Delhi unit president Anil Chaudhry met Union minister Hardeep Puri; he also met other stakeholders like Lieutenant Governor and Delhi Police chief, when this corrupt excise policy was being implemented”.