The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has asked voters to pick between an ‘honest’ Arvind Kejriwal and an ‘opportunist’ Kiran Bedi, finally putting its leader and BJP’s chief ministerial candidate on auto-rickshaw posters.
In what many saw as an effort to avoid a direct fight with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, AAP had earlier ‘picked’ Jagdish Mukhi as the BJP’s CM candidate, featuring him and Kejriwal on similar posters. But after Bedi was picked as BJP’s CM face, AAP has been forced to change its strategy.
There are about 85,000 autos plying in Delhi and both parties are trying to reach out to a large number of them for campaigning, considering they are understood to have contributed to AAP’s stunning poll debut in 2013. Many of them are already displaying pro-Bedi posters. A war of words has already erupted.
While BJP’s Sambit Patra termed the new AAP posters ‘highly ridiculous’, saying people of Delhi know who the true opportunist is, his party colleague GVL Narasimha Rao said, “AAP is showing its nervousness. Kejriwal had himself invited Bedi to join AAP and now he thinks that joining any other party is a betrayal.”
While AAP feels it is better off fighting a ‘Kiran vs Kejriwal’ battle as Modi was still is ‘a force to reckon with’, the party has hit back at BJP. “Hubristic voices from BJP dared us to put Bedi’s picture on autos. I hope we have satisfactorily answered them,” tweeted Raghav Chadha of AAP’s communication strategy team.
AAP has made it clear that it will not hold itself back in taking on Bedi just because she and Kejriwal were once anti-corruption mascots in the Anna Hazare movement.
Weak Opponents: Kejriwal has so far held 70 public meetings in different constituencies and he will hold about 20 more, but he’s not doing it in his own constituency New Delhi. A section of the party feels his constituency rivals - BJP’s Nupur Sharma and Congress’ Kiran Walia -are not too strong. Other leaders say Kejriwal is focusing on entire Delhi and he only establishes people-to-people contact in his seat.
Magic Shows: AAP has also deployed two teams of magicians to convince the rural electorate. “These people are doing shows to demonstrate how AAP will solve power, water crisis,” said an AAP leader. The party also has four flash mob teams, and five teams doing plays in busy markets and Metro station areas.