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Govt prepares poll groundwork

delhi Updated: Jul 07, 2008 23:25 IST
Anuradha Mukherjee
Anuradha Mukherjee
Hindustan Times
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The Congress-led Delhi government is in a fire-fighting mode. With the assembly elections due later this year, the Delhi Cabinet met on Monday and ended up discussing measures to counter the Bharatiya Janata Party's intensified attacks. To begin with, they decided to ask the Centre for a note on the Amarnath Shrine Board land controversy and comparatives on inflation.

The BJP had called for a nationwide bandh against the order revoking the grant of land to the shrine Board. The effects of the bandh were felt quite clearly in the city and the ruling Congress is not willing to leave anything to chance. "We need to clear the misunderstanding being created by the BJP to whip up passions over issues like withdrawal of the land grant and price rise. When we explain our position on the issue and the measures we have taken to contain the problems, we need to be very clear about the issues," said a source.

And for doing this, the Delhi government plans to use the resources of their colleagues in the Centre for consolidating a united strategy. "When the ministers go campaigning in their constituencies and in other parts of the city, they must be ready with facts, figures and answers. Congress leaders like Jyotiraditya Scindia had supplied some interesting comparisons on inflation at the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee meeting held on July 2," the source said.

The Chief Minister, Chief Secretary and six Delhi ministers - Transport Minister Haroon Yusuf, Urban Development Minister Raj Kumar Chauhan, Education Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely, Industries Minister Mangat Ram Singhal, Health Minister Yoganand Shastri and Finance Minister A.K. Walia -- sat down together for a brainstorming session on methods to combat the opposition.

While the cabinet agenda had little apart from the invitation of expressions of interests in the Kisan Haat, time had been set aside for informal discussions. The ministers were also told to concentrate on their constituencies with elections drawing close and identify achievement of their departments and the government to list out during public meetings.

"It was an informal meeting. And naturally we ended up talking about elections as that is on top of everybody's mind," said another source.