New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal Sunday made determined bids to woo the people of Delhi for Feb 7 assembly polls, launching sharp attacks on their rivals while seeking to convey their commitment to politics of development. Raising the pitch on last Sunday before voting, Modi, Kejriwal and Gandhi addressed rallies in different parts of the national capital and drew enthusiastic response from their supporters.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Though the battle is largely seen to be between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Aam Aadmi Party, Congress sees itself as a "dark horse". In the 2013 election to the 70-member assembly, AAP won 28 seats and finished a close second to the BJP which won 31 seats. Congress only got eight. In his rally in West Delhi's Dwarka area, Modi focused his attack mainly on AAP, and said the national capital needs an administration which works in harmony with his central government.
Gandhi, addressing a rally near Badarpur in south Delhi, slammed Modi as a "pracharak" and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal as "dharnebaaj", while Kejriwal, in his rally at Shastri Nagar in north Delhi, taunted Modi over promises of bring back black money and accused BJP of failing to fulfill its promises on women's security. Modi hit out at both the AAP and Congress for making "false promises" and in an attack on the former, said Delhi does not need a government "which launches agitations day and night".
He urged people not to give a fractured mandate and ensure full majority for his party, saying even a small activity in the national capital has an impact. Thanking Delhi's people for their support in the Lok Sabha elections, he said: "I have to return it by doing development. I have to solve problems in every part (of Delhi). Give me a chance to serve you."
Modi said Delhi needs a responsible, sensitive government and running an administration was a serious task. "You cannot do it by running away," he said, taking a dig at Kejriwal who quit as chief minister after 49 days. Referring to petrol and diesel prices coming down due to international factors since he assumed office, Modi said his rivals credit it to good luck but if "common man can save money due to (my) good luck, why bring someone who does not have good luck".
Gandhi, who addressed her first election rally, said her party would bring back the "atmosphere of development" in Delhi, if voted to power and accused BJP and AAP of making false promises. "While one party has a pracharak (referring Modi's days in RSS), who only does 'prachar (promotion)', the other has a dharnebaaj (agitator)," she said, adding that the country does not run only on slogans.
Accusing the central government of being anti-farmer and diluting the land acquisition law, Gandhi also raised incidents of communal violence in Trilokpuri and vandalisation of a church in Dilshad Garden, calling for defeating forces which spread "politics of hatred".
She also questioned Modi government's sincerity in fighting corruption while slamming the AAP for running away from its responsibilities by quitting government. Kejriwal, in his rally, hit back at Congress and BJP leaders and said he sits in protest not for himself but for causes concerning people. He hit out the BJP for failing to honour its commitment to bring back black money and now giving insurance of Rs.1 lakh under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana.
"Before elections they said we will bring Rs.15 lakh (into each account) in 100 days. After elections, they are saying first you die, then you will get Rs.1 lakh," he said. Kejriwal also attacked the BJP over remarks of some of its leaders concerning women. "How will they protect women? If it is in their hands, they will bundle women in a room and lock it from outside," he said.