New Delhi: As violence escalated in northeast Delhi, the alleged provocateur, BJP leader Kapil Mishra, is getting isolated within the party. Pressure is being mounted on the BJP leadership to take action against Mr Mishra. Sources said Mr Mishra’s initial move to provoke the anti-CAA/NRC protesters was an attempt to keep himself relevant in BJP politics. After Mr Mishra lost the Delhi Assembly polls, a rift had surfaced between him and the Delhi leadership. Cricketer-politician Gautam Gambhir has openly come out against Mr Mishra. Mr Gambhir, Lok Sabha member from East Delhi, said action should be taken against any party member, “whether Kapil Mishra or anyone else”, who gave provocative speeches.
Mr Mishra, who had unsuccessfully fought the Assembly polls on a BJP ticket from Model Town, led a gathering in support of the CAA at Maujpur Chowk in Jaffrabad area on Sunday, after which violence erupted between the pro- and anti-CAA groups. Addressing the gathering, Mr Mishra issued an ultimatum to the police to vacate roads blocked by anti-CAA protesters in the Jaffrabad and Bhahanpura areas within three days, warning that he would be back on the streets if no action was taken.
A well-placed source said after Mr Mishra’s defeat, a few leaders used this as an opportunity to downsize him in the eyes of the state leadership, which prompted him to score political points by giving provocative speeches.
A party insider said told this newspaper that Mr Mishra addressing a pro-CAA gathering on Sunday had not gone well with the BJP top leadership. It is learnt Mr Mishra was asked not to address or attend any protest and he had gone ahead against the party leadership’s advice.
“The central leadership and a large section of the state unit are not happy with Mr Mishra’s act. They believe Mr Mishra used the CAA to make himself politically relevant in the capital after his defeat in the Assembly polls. A majority of leaders in the Delhi BJP unit have demanded that strict action be taken against Mr Mishra to send a strong message,” he added.
Mr Gambhir’s comment has also given ammunition to the rank and file in the Delhi BJP who are seeking action against Mr Mishra. After visiting injured police officers admitted at Max Hospital at Patparganj in East Delhi, Mr Gambhir said: “It is not a matter of any political party, it’s an issue related to the people of Delhi who want to live peacefully. Strict action should be taken against anybody, whether he is Kapil Mishra or anybody else, who gives such speeches. Whatever action is taken, I will support that.”
Referring to Union home minister Amit Shah’s remarks at a TV event after the BJP’s humiliating defeat, another senior party leader said leaders like Mr Mishra must be punished for their misdeeds if they fail to understand the signals of party seniors. Participating in the TV event, Mr Shah admitted that the BJP had suffered defeat in Delhi due to the hate speeches by some leaders. In the run-up to the Delhi Assembly polls, Mr Mishra had termed the election as a “India-Pakistan match”.