Battle for Delhi goes down to the wire as campaigning ends
NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 5
With campaigning ending for Delhi polls, political parties have gone all out to convince voters in their favour, Thursday. As suggested by various opinion polls, the fight appears to be largely between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) with the Congress relegated to the third place.
The battle for Delhi has reached a crescendo with parties conducting road shows and rallies across the city.
For the BJP, the polls have turned into a matter of prestige as the party is keen to maintain its winning streak.
Speaking to reporters today, party’s CM candidate Kiran Bedi said that she was in the race to win it and promised good governance in the city if voted to power.Determined to ensure her victory, party chief Amit Shah has gone all out to ensure that nothing is left to chance.
As part of the massive push, the party has enlisted almost all union ministers and over 100 MPs for campaigning work. What is worrying the BJP the most is the fear that internal dissent over elevation of Kiran Bedi as the chief ministerial candidate may have made a section of the party’s Delhi unit work against party’s interests.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also been at the forefront of campaigning with promises galore to turn Delhi into a world-class city.
On the other hand, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) appears to be quite confident of a victory – and a return to power in Delhi.
Arvind Kejriwal is relentlessly on the campaign trail – meeting people and promising corruption-free government in Delhi.
The AAP today accused the BJP of trying to “buy votes” by distributing money and free liquor.
“We have information that BJP is distributing money, liquor and non-vegetarian food to the public and they are also seizing voter identity cards of the poor,” AAP leader Ashutosh alleged.
“We also have information that they are trying to traumatise and threaten these voters that if they vote for AAP, they will have to bear the consequences later,” he told reporters.
Responding to the allegations, BJP spokesperson GVL Narsimha said, “They (AAP) have even sold their party tickets in these elections and their candidates were found collecting and storing liquor for distribution in elections.”
“They make all kinds of allegations against every party and institution including the Election Commission but they think they are not required to answer any questions.
“It is the same party which is in the dock for its hawala transactions, for conversion of black money into white and they seem to be completely oblivious to these glaring omissions and commissions on their part,” he alleged.
Meanwhile, a group of former AAP volunteers under the banner of AVAM, who had levelled allegations of money laundering against the AAP, have approached the Election Commission to file a complaint against the party.
From the Congress, Rahul Gandhi conducted a road show today in Sultanpur Majra area. He was greeted by enthusiastic crowds all through the route, reports said.
Congress’ campaign chief Ajay Maken held an election campaign rally in Greater Kailash even as he worked to ensure that the party does well after the drubbing it received the last time. “People voted for us, then they did not, but again they realized that we were right and they again voted for us, it will be repeated,” Maken said.
Delhi polls not a vote on Modi Govt: Shah
NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 5
Two days ahead of polling in Delhi, BJP chief Amit Shah today contended that the election outcome cannot be a referendum on the functioning of Narendra Modi government.
Dismissing surveys projecting a clear victory for AAP Aadmi Party, he expressed confidence that the BJP will form a government in Delhi with a “very big majority” and Kiran Bedi will become Chief Minister.
His comments are in line with the remarks of Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Delhi polls.
“It is true that it is an election for Chief Ministership. The election in a state cannot be a referendum (about Centre’s functioning).
“While this is indeed true that the good work of the Government of India has its impact on elections, a state election cannot become a refrendum (on Centre’s functioning) because of that one thing.
“Venkaiahji has not said that. He has said that Delhi election is to elect a Chief Minister. You also know the Constitution. Elections in Delhi are never to elect Prime Minister,” Shah told CNN-IBN.
Holding that the electoral mandate in the national capital cannot be seen as a referendum on the Narendra Modi government, Naidu had told PTI in an interview, “It is an election for Chief Minister and not for Prime Minister.”
“Narendra Modi is not fighting assembly elections. It is a state election. You are going to elect a Chief Minister not a Prime Minister. It is the BJP versus the rest. That is all”.
Shah dismissed surveys projecting AAP as a winner and ridiculed Arvind Kejriwal accusing him of “trying to become a hero” by releasing its internal surveys to claim a winner.
Cornered Mamata calls upon Delhiites to vote for AAP
KOLKATA, FEBRUARY 5
Cornered by BJP and various central agencies, Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee called upon the people of Delhi to vote for Aam Admi Party (AAP) in the Delhi assembly elections scheduled to be held on Saturday.
“Delhi elections on 7. My request to all of you in Delhi to please vote for AAP. For the greater need of the country and development in Delhi,” Banerjee tweeted in the evening on Thursday.
While she apparently has nothing to do with the results of the Delhi elections, political analysts see this as Mamata’s desperate bid to see that the BJP suffer a jolt at the national capital. Trinamool Congress has its back on the wall in Bengal over Saradha scam. Mamata Banerjee has alleged that BJP is using CBI as a political tool to harass the ruling party of Bengal.
“CBI and Enforcement Directorate (ED) are sending our leaders to jails and BJP leaders are using this opportunity to enforce a split in the party. The party desperately needs setbacks for BJP in other parts of the country,” a Trinamool leader told HT while commenting on Mamata’s tweet. He, however, declined to be named.
Earlier, neither Mamata Banerjee nor any Trinamool leader ever praised AAP or its leader, Arvind Kejriwal, on any issue.