In road shows and rallies, BJP biggies take on AAP
Senior leaders from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) held multiple public meetings in the city ahead of the assembly elections scheduled on February 8, with Union ministers and chief ministers of BJP-ruled states to hitting out at the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government on women’s safety, the subsidy in electricity and water bills, and raising the protest at Shaheen Bagh.
On Wednesday, the BJP’s Union ministers Smriti Irani and Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank went to the Sadar Bazar assembly segment to campaign for the party’s candidate, Jai Prakash. After 1993, the BJP has never won from this constituency though the area has a large number of traders, who are considered the party’s core vote base.
Addressing a public meeting at Shastri Nagar in the constituency, Irani alleged that the AAP’s promise of women safety in Delhi was “hollow”, and even blamed the party for the suicide of a former worker, who, she alleged, was sexually abused by another party worker.
Irani targeted Kejriwal for helping the juvenile accused in the December 16, 2012 gang-rape case in Delhi by giving him Rs 10,000 and a sewing machine on his release. “Would you vote for such a party, who goes out to reward a rapist with a sewing kit and money?” she asked the crowd gathered at the M-block roundabout. Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani was also present at the meeting.
She accused the government of delaying the hanging of the other three accused in the gang-rape case. “The three rapists, who committed the most heinous crime, have not been hanged yet despite the Supreme Court announcing the death sentence because Delhi chief minister Kejriwal did not fix a date for the hanging. The prisons department is under the Delhi government but it is sitting on a case that shook the nation’s conscience,” said Irani.
Refuting the allegations, an AAP leader said, “As far as giving the sewing kit to the juvenile accused is concerned, we complied with the law under the union WCD ministry itself. If they change the law, we will abide by it.”
Delhi CM Kejriwal said this week that the BJP was using its senior national leaders because it did not have a credible leader or a CM candidate in the city.
Addressing a public meeting in Usmanpur in Seelampur assembly constituency, which witnessed violence during the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests, Union road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari accused AAP and the Congress of “misleading the people on the issue”.
Gadkari also criticised the AAP government’s subsidy scheme. “They are giving everything for free. But when they will not be able to pay salaries to their employees, then all the freebies will be gone,” he said. The Union minister spoke about the development work his minister has done for Delhi. “In the last five years, we have sanctioned projects worth Rs 60,000 crore,” he said.
Former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan criticised Kejriwal for the Shaheen Bagh protests. Addressing a public meeting at Dwarka assembly segment, Chouhan said, “Who is responsible for the anti-CAA protest at Shaheen Bagh? Kejriwal says we (the BJP-led government at the Centre) should remove the protesters. He supports them and then says that the Centre should remove them. Why this doublespeak?” he said.
Apart from BJP chief JP Nadda and Union home minister Amit Shah, former chief ministers Devendra Fadnavis, Himachal Pradesh CM Jairam Thakur, Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of state home affairs Nityanand Rai were among senior leaders who address public meetings in different parts of the city.