Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday appealed Delhi's voters to give him an opportunity to "walk hand-in-hand" with them, minutes after Congress chief Sonia Gandhi accused the BJP of practising "politics of hatred".
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal also went all out against the BJP as the high-voltage campaigning in the national capital reached a crescendo.
Modi alleged that the rookie party and the Congress were irresponsible and could not be trusted with power. "A competition of making false promises, telling lies and imposing false allegations is going on between these two groups," said Modi at a rally in west Delhi's Dwarka as he lent his party support in a tough election campaign for the 70 seats of the state assembly.
"Governments who believe in dharnas just want time on TV," said Modi, referring to AAP leader Kejriwal's 49-day tenure as Delhi chief minister last year.
"I want to take Delhi to new heights. Delhi is symbolic of India's pride and prestige," he said. "Give me an opportunity to walk hand-in-hand with the people and take the nation to new heights."
Modi spoke after Congress chief Sonia Gandhi held a rally in south Delhi's Badarpur and accused his party of inciting communal violence in the national capital. She asked people to defeat those doing "politics of hatred" while referring to the Trilokpuri riots and church attacks in Dilshad Garden and Vikaspuri.
"You must remember the huge promises made to you by BJP before election. Where is the black money they promised to bring back? Where is employment? Has inflation been curbed?"
"We introduced land acquisition act so that land of people cannot be acquired by inappropriate means. We took many steps to empower poor of the nation, but today the Modi government is weakening these acts to take away power from poor. This is the reality of their hollow promises of good days?" said Gandhi.
"On one side there are people (BJP) who make hollow promises and on the other, there are people (AAP) who only sit on dharnas."
Attacking both the BJP and the AAP, Gandhi said, "While one party has a pracharak, who only does 'prachar (publicity)' the other just a dharnebaaj, who is all the time busy organising dharnas. Delhi needs good governance and not false promises... BJP and AAP can only talk big and make hollow promises."
Later in the day, Kejriwal responded to the constant 'dharna' jibes at him saying," I don't sit on dharna for myself. I sit on Dharna for people."
He also alleged the BJP had no 'niyat' (will) to fight graft, and reiterated his claims of nexus between the saffron party and power firms.
Most analysts see Delhi election as a two-way contest between the BJP and AAP, with price rise and women's safety emerging as key electoral issues, though the Congress is also looking to revive its fortunes following a string of defeats last year.
The national capital has been under President's Rule for over a year since the AAP quit after just 49 days in office, most of them dominated by public sit-ins, conflicts with electricity and water agencies as well as a power struggle with the central government. Modi is scheduled to hold rallies in Rohini on February 3 and Ambedkar Nagar on February 4.
Elections in Delhi will take place on February 7 while the results will be announced on February 10.