It was a sort of carpet bombing by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today as it deployed all its big guns — from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to party chief Amit Shah to a host of Union Ministers — to campaign and woo the voters for the fiercely fought February 7 assembly polls.
Modi addressed his second rally in as many days in South West Delhi’s Dwarka where he asked people to support his party while coming down hard on Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) which has put up a spirited fight for the keenly watched contest.
As the high-octane campaign entered its last lap, senior Union Ministers Arun Jaitley, M Venkaiah Naidu and Ravi Shankar Prasad addressed several rallies where they primarily targeted “main rival” AAP while seeking people’s support for a “stable” government in Delhi.
Besides the rallies, Union Ministers Piyush Goyal and Nirmala Sitharaman addressed separate back-to-back press conferences where they hit out at AAP and its leader Arvind Kejriwal on a range of issues.
The BJP has been out of power in Delhi for last 16 years. It fell five seats short of majority in the last assembly polls in 2013.
BJP leaders Prabhat Jha, Shahnawaz Hussain and Krishnapal Gujar also addressed a number of rallies seeking a clear mandate for the party.
Delhi BJP President Satish Upadhyay, party’s Chief Ministerial nominee Kiran Bedi and former AAP leader Shazia Ilmi, who joined BJP recently, also tried to woo the voters in several rallies in outer and North East Delhi.
Union Ministers Babul Supriyo and Radha Mohan Singh were also busy campaigning for the party in various localities throughout the day.
Fielding of BJP’s top guns came days after party president Amit Shah expressed unhappiness over the party’s “lacklustre” election campaign.
Sources said Shah has taken “full control” of the campaign and tasked 120 MPs including 14 Union ministers and hundreds of party workers from 13 states to campaign in Delhi.
Addressing a rally in east Delhi’s Kondli, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad today said Delhi needs a chief minister like Kiran Bedi who had “towed away” former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s car.
Prasad said AAP merely pretends to care for the ‘aam aadmi’ (common man) whereas BJP-run governments had actually installed people from the grassroots as Chief Ministers in states such as Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Haryana.
“Delhi needs a strict administrator like Kiran Bedi who did not think twice before towing away then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s car for parking at a wrong place at Connaught Place for which she was even transferred,” he said.
“Aam Aadmi Party pretends to be for the ‘aam aadmi’ but in reality we run governments for the common man,” he said.
Prasad went on to refer to the family background of Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das and few others to drive home his point.
“In Jharkhand we have made the son of a Tata Steel labourer the Chief Minister. Das himself was a Group D staff before he became the CM.
“Same with Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis who comes from a very humble background. Our Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar’s father and grandfather worked as labourers after arriving in Haryana from Pakistan post-partition,” Prasad said.
Speaking in support of the party’s Kondli candidate Hukum Singh, the Minister said the opposition parties were “trembling” due to a BJP wave in the capital.
“There is a BJP wave in the capital for which the opposition can be seen trembling. If we can win the country we can also win Delhi,” he said.