High-decibel campaigning for Delhi poll ends

New Delhi: The aggressive campaigning by political parties for the Feb 7 Delhi assembly polls - a virtual battle between the BJP and the AAP - ended Thursday with many leaders holding road shows and public meetings in a final attempt to woo the voters.

Leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress took to the capital's streets one last time to reach out to the electorate. Interestingly, West Bengal Chief Minster and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee Thursday urged Delhiites to vote for the AAP, even as the BJP in her state gradually seems to be gaining a foothold.

The campaigning to control the 70-member assembly saw mudslinging and verbal duels especially between the BJP and the AAP. For the BJP, the campaigning was led by party president Amit Shah, who held a rally in Madanpur Khadar area of south Delhi, and chief ministerial candidate Kiran Bedi, who took out a road show covering Mangolpuri, Sultanpuri, Kirari, Nangloi and Mundka areas in north and west Delhi.

Bedi ended her campaigning in her constituency of Krishna Nagar in east Delhi and was joined by union minister and local heavyweight Harsh Vardhan and East Delhi Lok Sabha member Maheish Girri. Bedi interacted with the residents and assured them strong governance under her watch. Shah Thursday said the assembly polls were not a "referendum" on the performance of the National Democratic Alliance government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

His remarks were echoed by party colleague and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal took out a foot march in his constituency of New Delhi and visited a number of households in an attempt to understand the problems of the residents and assured them of speedy solutions if his party was voted to power.

Though the election in Delhi is being seen as a straight fight between the AAP and the BJP, the Congress too registered its presence with party vice president Rahul Gandhi, who joined the campaigning in its final phase, taking out a road show in north Delhi's Sultanpur Majra.

Congress campaign chief Ajay Maken has so far been the leader, but in its last phase, Rahul Gandhi too addressed many rallies. Addressing a rally, Shah said the Delhi election was a fight between two ideologies -- one that makes and keeps its promises, referring to the BJP, and the other of lying and making false promises, hinting towards the AAP.

"The Delhi polls are a fight between two ideologies -- those who do what they say and the others who make promises but never fulfill them," Shah said, adding that the AAP had a habit of lying and deceiving people. Bedi said she was "confident" that her party will win the polls.Joined by hundreds of supporters, Kejriwal too interacted with voters of his constituency and said he was confident of winning.

"The BJP has all the administrative apparatus but we have truth and god on our side," Kejriwal said. He said people had seen his party's work in the 49 days when he was chief minister and, therefore, the voters want the same honest government for five years now.

Pre-poll surveys have also suggested a close contest between the BJP and the AAP -- with the latter having an edge. A total of 1,33,09,078 registered voters -- including 73,89,089 males, 59,19,127 women and 862 from "other gender" -- would be able to cast their ballot, according to Chief Electoral Officer Chandra Bhushan Kumar.

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