The political heat in the national capital matched the season’s sizzling Celsius as hard-hitting rhetoric of politicos and frenzied roadshows dominated the final day of the campaign for Sunday’s high-stakes Delhi municipal elections.
Friday recorded the maximum rallies and door-to-door canvassing for the 272 municipal seats across the north, south, and east municipal corporations in the city of above 20 million people.
The results will be out on April 26. The day will reveal if the ruling BJP could manage to buck a decade-old anti-incumbency in the three civic agencies, or chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is the people’s choice this time, or the Congress is back in the reckoning.
The civic elections are billed as a barometer to the Kejriwal government’s popularity, two years after it won an overwhelming mandate in the assembly polls. His party won five of the 13 municipal wards where bypolls were held last year.
Hours before the campaign ended, Kejriwal said: “People of Delhi would be risking their children’s lives, if they vote for the BJP and bring it back to power in the three corporations.”
“If you vote for the BJP and if your child falls prey to chikungunya or dengue, you are responsible for it.”
He accused the BJP and Congress of purposely sabotaging the supply of power and water in the city, besides blocking sewer lines.
The BJP hit back, saying his statement exhibits his frustration.
“Since he is convinced that his party has lost its support base, he is trying to mislead people,” BJP leader Vijender Gupta said.
The AAP lost its Bawana legislator Ved Prakash to the BJP and this month’s Rajouri Garden assembly bypoll as well. Prakash joined the BJP on March 27.
The Congress, facing an exodus of leaders after the 2015 Delhi assembly elections debacle, is looking to revive its fortunes in a city that was once its strongest hold.
But its campaign suffered a jolt as popular leader Arvind Singh Lovely joined the BJP along with the city’s Youth Congress president Amit Malik this week.
BJP vice-president Shyam Jaju called Lovely’s loyalty switch a turning point for the party as he has a deep support base in east Delhi.