Poll fever grips Delhi: PM Modi, Sonia, Kejriwal spice up campaigns

  • HT Correspondents, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Feb 02, 2015 08:18 IST

The last Sunday before the election campaign comes to an end proved to be a very busy one for all three major political parties in Delhi.

Delhiites saw 95 rallies all across the city in one day as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal took on each other.

Here's a flashback of who said what and how the day unfolded:

‘Congress, AAP struck a secret pact’

Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged Delhi's voters to give him an opportunity to "walk hand in hand" with them, minutes after Congress chief Sonia Gandhi accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of practising "politics of hatred".

Modi played the ‘local’ card in his nearly hour-long speech at a rally in west Delhi’s Dwarka. From calling himself the original ‘Dwarka resident’ (referring to Gujarat’s Dwarka) and a Purvanchali (he’s an MP from Varanasi), Modi promised to end water woes in the largely-residential area.

Targeting the Congress and the AAP, the PM said both were hand-in-glove. “The two parties... forged a friendship behind curtains. But as soon as (fresh) elections were declared, they started competing...Who can make more false promises is the competition.”

Modi also alleged that the AAP and the Congress were irresponsible and could not be trusted with power.

"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."

‘BJP for publicity, Kejriwal for protests’

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi launched a scathing attack on both Modi and Kejriwal, accusing the BJP and the AAP of making false promises as she addressed her first election rally in the Capital.

“While one party has a pracharak, who only does prachar (publicity), the other just has a dharnebaaj, who is busy holding dharnas,” she said, addressing a crowd of more than 10,000 in south Delhi’s Badarpur.

Gandhi said the Congress had supported the AAP government to make Delhi a better place, “... but they fled.”

She also accused the Modi government of “weakening” UPA’s welfare measures.

"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," said Gandhi.

The Congress president also accused the BJP 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.

‘My dharnas are for common people’

AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal said he held sit-ins not for personal interests but out of concern for the people of Delhi, taking on both the Congress and the BJP.

Battling the tag of “runaway CM”, Kejriwal sought to reassure voters as he spoke at three poll rallies in the Capital. “I have learnt my lesson. I will not quit again. In the 49 days that we were in power… jo kaha vo kiya (we did what we promised),” he said in Shastri Nagar.

The former Delhi CM took on PM Modi, accusing his government of failing to check crime against women.

Numbers game

While the BJP topped the chart with 37 rallies in a day, Congress leaders addressed another 33. The AAP had 25 rallies scheduled for Sunday.

BJP’s chief ministerial candidate Kiran Bedi alone addressed five rallies. AAP’s Kejriwal addressed his usual three jan sabhas in a day. Congress’ Ajay Maken campaigned in his own constituency, while former Congress MP Raj Babbar addressed five rallies.

Traffic, even on a Sunday, was thrown out of gear because of the sheer number of political bigwigs flitting from one part of the city to another.

'Kejriwal only competition'

Meanwhile, Union finance minister Arun Jaitley said the AAP was the only competition for the BJP in Delhi, and the choice for voters was between "good governance" and "anarchy". He also claimed that Congress will not be able to bag "even a few seats" in the upcoming assembly polls.

Most analysts see the Delhi elections as a two-way contest between the BJP and the AAP, with price rise and women's safety emerging as key electoral issues. The Congress, however, is also looking to revive its fortunes following a string of defeats last year.

A Hindustan Times-C fore survey recently showed there would be a neck-and-neck fight between the AAP and the BJP, and a hung assembly was likely again.

Elections in Delhi will take place on February 7 while the results will be announced on February 10.

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AAP leads last leg of Delhi polls, Kejriwal top CM choice: HT survey
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