Aam Aadmi Party’s Okhla candidate Amanatullah Khan was re-elected to the Delhi Assembly by a massive margin on Tuesday. He defeated Bharatiya Janata Party’s Braham Singh 71,827 votes.
Okhla, a Muslim-dominated constituency, has been the epicentre of protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and proposed National Register of Citizens. Both Shaheen Bagh and Jamia Nagar are in this constituency.
Khan’s victory is significant given how the BJP had sought to portray the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests as violent in a bid to polarise the electorate on religious lines. The main target of the BJP’s campaign was Shaheen Bagh. The locality was barely known within Delhi until its women residents decided to sit down on a road in December to protest against the Citizenship Act.
The BJP also tried to portray the Delhi elections as a referendum on the ongoing protests, particularly at Shaheen Bagh. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, too, had hit out at the Shaheen Bagh protests. Modi had called the protests a “conspiracy”, where the real agenda was being obscured by using the tricolour and the Constitution as symbols. A Union minister exhorted a crowd at a rally to shout “shoot the traitors”, while a BJP MP called Kejriwal a “terrorist” and claimed the Shaheen Bagh protestors would rape and murder women.
In the 2015 Assembly elections, Khan had defeated Singh by more than 64,000 votes. Until then, Congress was a popular choice of Okhla residents.
Seelampur was another constituency that has a sizable Muslim population and saw violence during anti-CAA protests in December. The AAP won Seelampur as well, with Abdul Rehman defeating the BJP’s Kaushal Kumar Mishra by 36,920 votes.
On December 17, protests against the amended Citizenship Act turned violent in this locality in North East Delhi as demonstrators pelted stones at police personnel, damaged public buses and burnt vehicles. The police had fired tear gas shells and baton-charged the mob. Clashes began between police and the protestors at Seelampur Chowk when forces tried to stop them from advancing.
Congress had won Seelampur seat for three consecutive elections – 2003, 2008 and 2013. In 2015, before AAP leader Mohd Ishraque defeated BJP’s Sanjay Jain in 2015 by a margin of 27,887 votes.
AAP’s Shoaib Iqbal won the seat by a margin of over 50,000 votes against the BJP candidate. He is a former MLA who has been elected five times earlier from Matia Mahal. The Muslim-dominated area saw violence and arson during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
In the last Assembly elections, the seat was won by Asim Ahmed Khan of the AAP by a margin of 26,096 votes.
Haji Yunus of the Aam Aadmi Party won the Mustafabad seat by 20,704 votes against the BJP’s Jagdish Pradhan, who was one of only four sitting MLAs from his party in the outgoing Assembly. Situated in North East Delhi, this Muslim-dominated locality had recorded 70.55% turnout on February 8. The area saw widespread protests against the amended citizenship law and the proposed National Register of Citizens.