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Delhi campaign hits crescendo: Modi, Rahul, Kejriwal come out all guns blazing

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal were in action on Wednesday as campaigning entered the home stretch for the Delhi elections slated for February 7.

delhi Updated: Feb 05, 2015 03:03 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Delhi elections,Delhi assembly polls,Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal Wednesday came out all guns blazing as campaigning entered the home stretch for the Delhi polls.

Gandhi said former environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan, who raised a banner of revolt and quit the Congress recently, was put up by the BJP to counter his attack against the PM.

“A few days back, I said something against Modi, and the next day, they propped up Jayanthi Natarajan,” he said.

The Congress vice-president was addressing a rally in north-west Delhi’s Bhalswa.

“Yes I had told her that she should work for welfare of tribals and the poor… I am not scared of anyone. I will keep fighting for the poor... I am not here for four-five industrialists,” Gandhi said in his first counter to the former environment minister’s accusations.

Natarajan had alleged that Gandhi used to interfere in the project-approval process during her tenure at the environment ministry before she was forced out in December 2013.

The Congress has often accused the Modi government of favouring a set of industrialists.

The PM criticised the opposition for misleading people and warned against stirring trouble. “I can see that attempts are being made to incite our brothers and sisters from Northeast for the last two days. The party has accepted its mistake. There should not be an attempt to harm the unity of the country,” he said at a rally in Ambedkar Nagar.

The BJP’s vision document, released Tuesday, had referred to the people of northeast as immigrants. Under fire, the party had blamed it on a typo and a clerical error.

The “huge gathering” at the rally was a clear indication of “the direction the wind is blowing”, Modi said, dismissing pre-poll surveys, many of which have predicted a win for the AAP.

The AAP took the war to the BJP. Its women’s wing held a motorcycle rally in Krishan Nagar from where the saffron party’s chief ministerial candidate Kiran Bedi is contesting her first election. Bedi has the distinction of being the first woman Indian Police Service officer.

Armed with brooms -- the AAP symbol -- and sporting the white party cap, the women raised slogans, seeking majority for the two-year-old outfit. The women bikers, led by Bullet-riding actor-turned-politician Gul Panag, were an instant hit. Panag, who unsuccessfully contest the Lok Sabha election from Chandigarh, said the rally was a display of women emancipation.

Her party chief again mounted a stinging attack on the BJP, accusing it of abusing him to escape an imminent defeat. People would punish the BJP for resorting to a negative campaign, said Kejriwal who addressed a number of rallies during the day.
Campaigning for the 70-member Delhi assembly will draw to a close at 5pm Thursday. The voting will be held on February 7 and results declared on February 10.

First Published: Feb 04, 2015 20:05 IST