The Aam Aadmi Party on Monday alleged that protests led by women at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh neighbourhood against the Citizenship Amendment Act were “scripted and strategised” by the Bharatiya Janata Party for political gains, PTI reported. “Due to this protest, BJP polarised north-east Delhi, won some seats and then engineered a riot,” party spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj said.

The Shaheen Bagh protests became the focal point against the amended citizenship law and the proposed National Register of Citizens, inspiring women across the country to come out of their homes for similar round-the-clock demonstrations.

Bharadwaj’s allegations came amid reports that several Muslims from the Shaheen Bagh area have joined the BJP. Delhi’s BJP leader Nighat Abbas claimed that those who joined the party – over 50 from Shaheen Bagh and the rest from Okhla and Nizamuddin – included people who supported CAA as well as those who were against it, according to The Indian Express.

“Delhi Assembly election could have been fought on the issue of education, health, environment or other developmental narratives,” Bhardwaj told reporters. “But the Delhi BJP chose to fight the election on the issue of Shaheen Bagh.”

The AAP leader said that “pro-democracy citizens must be feeling cheated and manipulated” as the “BJP pulled the strings” of the protest, The Indian Express reported. “The whole Shaheen Bagh protest was scripted by the BJP,” he added. “The topmost leadership of the BJP scripted each and every step of these protests.”

He added that the key people behind the Shaheen Bagh protest had joined the BJP. “Today the question is: does the BJP want to give a message that the people who used to raise anti-national slogans will now be part of the BJP?” he asked.

Bhardwaj alleged that the three-month-long road blockade in the locality was designed to benefit the saffron party in the Assembly polls held earlier this year. He claimed that BJP’s vote share rose from 18% to 38% because of the Shaheen Bagh protests and the “controversy surrounding it”.

The Aam Aadmi Party’s allegations drew a rebuttal from BJP leader Manoj Tiwari, who said his party does not discriminate on the basis of religion, caste, creed or lineage.

“Now the confusion is getting cleared and Muslim brothers and sisters want to walk with the BJP...Stop dividing Arvind Kejriwal ji,” Tiwari tweeted. “The world’s largest party BJP represents all religions and does not discriminate on the basis of religion, caste, creed or lineage.”