On February 14, Union minister Prakash Javadekar held a press conference in Pune. Several media outlets quoted the minister saying that he denied ever having called Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal a terrorist. Responding to the statement, “You said that Kejriwal is a terrorist and you have a proof for the same,” Javadekar said, “I have never done such a thing. Secondly, the main outcome of Delhi election results is [that] the Congress lost completely.” The relevant portion can be heard from 30 seconds in the video.
In the run-up to the Delhi assembly elections, Prakash Javadekar held a press conference with Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari and Union minister Anurag Thakur on February 3, 2020. Addressing the presser, he said, “There is a reason why people of Delhi who were in support of [Arvind Kejriwal] have turned away from him, hence now Kejriwal is making an innocent face and asks, -‘am I a terrorist?’- You are a terrorist, there is plenty of proof for that. You had yourself said that you are an anarchist. There is not much of difference between an anarchist and terrorist.”
Javadekar continued, “In the last phase of Punjab elections, he [Kejriwal] stayed for a night at the house of Khalistan commando force’s terrorist -commander Gurinder Singh- in Moga. When asked why did you stay at his place. He said, ‘I will stay, knowing that he is a terrorist’. Knowing this and (still) choosing to stay there, what more evidence of terrorism [do you] need. Today, Kejriwal’s party supports Shaheen Bagh. We want to ask what is that you are supporting? Assam’s liberation, Jinnah wali Azadi (freedom), where there is sloganeering for breaking India. To stand with such slogans is also terrorism. (He) also stands with the anti-national slogans raised in JNU and hence, he is not giving permission to the case (sedition against JNU students). He gave the threat on January 26 that I will stop. How many more proofs do you need? People of Delhi have realised that you are the master of lies, and you are originally an anarchist, sympathising with terrorists…..hence you are a terrorist. Delhi knows you now.
Thus, eleven days after terming Kejriwal a “terrorist”, Union minister Prakash Javadekar denied the on-record statement.
But Javadekar is only one example among the many politicians who’ve made controversial statements then backtracked. Alt News has found several prominent political leaders denying on-the-record statements, whether uttered by them or fellow party members. In this article, we will only be focusing on the month of January when leading politicians took a one-eighty on their remarks.
During an interview with NDTV’s Sreenivasan Jain, Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari had also denied that anyone from his party had called Kejriwal ‘a terrorist’. He said, “[We] have not called him a terrorist.” When Jain showed Javadekar’s video to Tiwari, the politician responded, “He is saying that there are so many proofs that you [Kejriwal] are a terrorist.”
.@OnReality_Check | “We are talking about his (Arvind Kejriwal’s) conduct. We have not called him a terrorist”: says Manoj Tiwari, BJP Delhi chief on Prakash Javadekar remarks on Delhi Chief Minister.#DelhiElections2020
— NDTV (@ndtv) February 5, 2020
Regardless of the clarification given by Manoj Tiwari, the fact remains that Javadekar did call Kejriwal a ‘terrorist’, as mentioned earlier in this report.
In an interview with ABP News, ahead of the Delhi assembly elections, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal was questioned about terming PM Modi “anti-national”. Kejriwal denied ever making the remark. The discussion can be heard below.
However, Kejriwal did call the prime minister “anti-national” while addressing a poll rally in Haryana’s Hisar in May 2019. He said that PM Modi has an understanding with terrorists and Pakistan. Questioning the timing of Pulwama attack, Kejriwal said, “What was the need for Pakistan to carry out an attack just two months before the election? And 10 days later, [Pakistani PM] Mr Khan said that Mr Modi should be made the PM again.”
At 10 minutes into the video posted below, Kejriwal can be heard saying, “Some people are confused. Some people say Modi is a nationalist. Some people say Modi is a patriot. Today, it’s your responsibility to tell [the public] that there is no bigger anti-national than Modi.” He then emphasised, “Modi is a fake nationalist.”
Earlier this week at Times Now summit, home minister Amit Shah was interviewed by journalist Navika Kumar. She pointed out the provocative slogans raised by BJP leaders during pro-CAA rallies such as ‘traitors of the country, should be shot down’, labelling the Delhi elections as ‘India vs Pakistan’ and the allegations that Shaheen Bagh protestors would enter homes and rape women and daughters. Shah acknowledged that the first two statements were made but denied that his party members made the ‘rape’ comment about Shaheen Bagh protestors.
Shah said, “No one has given such a statement… that daughter will be raped … But everything else that you said, they should not have given any statement.” From 2:58 minutes in the tweet below, the relevant portion can be heard.
— TIMES NOW (@TimesNow) February 13, 2020
However, BJP MP Parvesh Sharma did give the statement referred by Kumar in her interview. Verma said, “Lakhs of people gather there [Shaheen Bagh]. People of Delhi will have to think and take a decision. They’ll enter your houses, rape your sisters and daughters, kill them. There’s time today, Modi ji & Amit Shah won’t come to save you tomorrow.”
#WATCH: BJP MP Parvesh Verma says, “…Lakhs of people gather there (Shaheen Bagh). People of Delhi will have to think & take a decision. They’ll enter your houses, rape your sisters&daughters, kill them. There’s time today, Modi ji & Amit Shah won’t come to save you tomorrow…” pic.twitter.com/1G801z5ZbM
— ANI (@ANI) January 28, 2020
In the age of digital media, nearly every statement given by politicians is recorded on video, yet many of them have been found backtracking on controversial remarks.