New Delhi, April 9 (IANS) One was accused of hate speech before communal riots broke out in Delhi in February this year and the other is still remembered for his slap on Prashant Bhushan years ago over the lawyer’s position on Kashmir. But the two seem to have worked to create an unique identity for themselves as ‘dial a help’.
Both Kapil Mishra and Tajinder Bagga were fielded by the BJP for the Delhi assembly election from Model Town and Hari Nagar respectively. However, both lost the election. However, ever since Mishra opened a crowd funding account to raise a handsome Rs 1 crore to be disbursed among the riot victims as northeast Delhi was liming back to normalcy. Similarly, Bagga has become a Twitter helpline where he is liasoning with BJP’s youth wing, the Art of Living Foundation and Patanjali to ensure ration and medicine reach those whoever seek his help, not just in the national capital but beyond, as India witnesses an unprecedented 21 days shutdown.
Bagga – a tweet away for help in Shutdown
“I have barely been able to sleep. I can’t keep the phone on silent and notifications are constantly coming seeking help,” says Bagga. He claims, on average he attends to 200 requests per day. He claims most of the requests are coming through Twitter, while those who have his number are also sending WhatsApp requests.
“Initially I got SOS calls where at least hundred people were in need of food. But then there are requests for just five in a family,” he said.
There are also requests coming in from across India, he says and a cursory look at his Twitter timeline proves this.
On April 4, Diksha Pandey sent an SOS on behalf of Bimal Maurya who she claimed was stuck in Uttar Pradesh’s Jaunpur. On April 3, Sridhar V reached out to him for help in Madhya Pradesh’s Indore. What Bagga does, he tags the local BJP leadership, mostly from the BJYM, who in turn sends out the help. For instance, for Sridhar’s request, Bagga sought help from Indore MLA Ramesh Mendola. “Its a two way street. They help us, wherever they are. We help them here in Delhi,” he reasoned.
He may have plastered the town with anti AAP posters many a time and run campaigns under the aegis of Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena, but the shutdown brought out a different persona. Believe it or not, for a request on April 2, Bagga openly sought help from Delhi’s Deputy CM Manish Sisodia, his political opponent. He even spoke to AAP’s Ankit Lal to arrange a doctor for Twitter user Sachin Mittal. Asked on his political differences with AAP, he shot back, “This is not the time to consider that.”Kapil Mishra – a metamorphosis post riot?
Mishra is known to have very strong views on most things including the Shaheen Bagh blockade, which started against the citizenship Act brought by the Centre. Just before the communal riots broke out in parts of northeast Delhi, Mishra warned against “another Shaheen Bagh’ at Jafrabad area, a minority-dominated area of Delhi.
But, as the riots ended killing 53 and injuring more than 200, Mishra seemed to have gone through a metamorphosis. The campaign to crowdfunding began on February 28 and in a very short span of time, Rs 72 lakh was raised. Operated through crowdcash.org, Mishra raised a whopping Rs 1 crore.
On April 18, he suspended the campaign after reaching the target.
While direct disbursal were made to many accounts, help was also extended to 62 families “whose homes or businesses were damaged”.
The goal of the campaign, in Mishra’s own words, was to identify families who were “massively impacted due to the riots and help them with monetary assistance”. However, he was clear from the beginning that the recipient would be “underprivileged Hindu families who have been impacted by the riots”. Though, the opposition criticized this exclusivity, the financial assistance was timely for the recipients.