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In poster war, Congress, BJP look to hijack AAP’s auto ride

Nivedita Khandekar and Neelam Pandey, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, September 25, 2013
First Published: 02:43 IST(25/9/2013) | Last Updated: 17:16 IST(30/9/2013)

‘Gangs of Ghaziabad’ is how Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is being described in a bunch of new posters pasted on the back of autorickshaws, triggering a poster war of sorts. Auto-rickshaws so far have been AAP’s own poster territory — the launch pad for many of its virulent attacks on Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit and the opposition BJP.

But ahead of the assembly elections in November, the ruling Congress and the BJP have joined the political newcomer AAP in pasting posters and banners on the back of auto-rickshaws. The Congress has gone a step ahead and has started pasting posters on e-rickshaws, which ironically the government had planned to ban but did not.

On Tuesday, auto-rickshaw drivers supporting AAP pulled down posters put up by an NGO called I Love My Delhi.

These posters with the slogan ‘Lootera Bhagao, Dilli Bachao’ (drive robbers away to save Delhi) were seen in areas like Rajghat, Gole Market and Anand Vihar.

“The NGO workers were offering each rickshaw driver `100 to put up the posters. If a driver refused, they hiked it to `500,” said Jitender Singh, an autorickshaw driver associated with the AAP. HT could not independently confirm whether this NGO was backed by a political party.

Sources said the CM had recently assured the e-rickshaw pliers a trouble-free run. These vehicles can be spotted across the city but are more popular in Gole Market, India Gate, Mandir Marg, Connuaght Place and Panchkuian Road — areas under Dikshit’s New Delhi constituency.

Another set of posters by Jan Abhiyaan, Delhi, morphed Kejriwal’s face on a parrot’s photo with a caption ‘Mai imaandaar, baaki sab beimaan’ (I’m honest, rest are corrupt) followed by a Hindi proverb meaning blowing his own trumpet. BJP sources said Jan Abhiyaan has the tacit support of the party.

“We are not bothered with such posters. We are not going to react as people know the truth,” said AAP spokesperson Manish Sisodia.

According to sources, the Jan Abhiyaan posters have been put up by the BJP to counter AAP’s campaign including a recorded message by Kejriwal “criticising the BJP”.

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