BJP, AAP, Congress spent 2019 indulging in cat-and-mouse games

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New Delhi | Published: December 30, 2019 1:41:04 PM

As the Congress fought fiercely to regain ground, the AAP conceded its popularity, which had peaked in 2015 when it came to power in the city-state, to the BJP in the Lok Sabha election in May.

arvind kejriwal, manoj tiwari, narendra modi, delhi elections, ajay maken, delhi politics, delhi newsThe year started with AAP campaigning aggressively for full statehood for Delhi, but after the Lok Sabha election defeat a relatively subdued face of the party emerged.

Political parties locked horns on several occasions in Delhi this year in a desperate bid to establish their supremacy in the national capital, unleashing brisk activities starting with the campaign for the 2019 general election. As the Congress fought fiercely to regain ground, the AAP conceded its popularity, which had peaked in 2015 when it came to power in the city-state, to the BJP in the Lok Sabha election in May. With the BJP winning all the seven parliamentary seats, it seems that Delhi followed the national narrative that drove the parliamentary election. Both AAP and Congress had flirted with each ahead of the election to seal an alliance but couldn’t reach a definite agreement and ultimately fought separately.

The year started with AAP campaigning aggressively for full statehood for Delhi, but after the Lok Sabha election defeat a relatively subdued face of the party emerged. “We believe in countering hate with love and negative with positive politics. We are doing the same positive politics in Delhi,” senior AAP leader Gopal Rai said then. Appearing to have recovered from the loss, Aam Aadmi Party and its chief Arvind Kejriwal, also the Delhi chief minister, have been asserting “Abki Baar, 67 Paar” for coming assembly polls, claiming to return to power with 67 assembly seats, out of the total 70.

To realise that target, the party has roped in election strategist Prashant Kishor and his organisation IPAC. Its main rival, the BJP, is upbeat riding on the success of the Lok Sabha election in May, and is trying hard to form its government in Delhi after more than two decades. The party, faced with the challenge of countering Kejriwal, is banking on the support of voters of unauthorised colonies, hoping they will back it due to property ownership rights given to the residents in these colonies by the BJP-led government at the Centre.

BJP’s Delhi unit president Manoj Tiwari asserted the move will benefit 40 lakh residents of 1,731 unauthorised colonies in the national capital. “Our credo in 2019 has been positivity. With a positive attitude we won Lok Sabha polls. With the same spirit we will also stage a comeback in Delhi by winning at least 45 seats in assembly elections by dismantling the Arvind Kejriwal regime,” Tiwari told PTI. Other than citing the “failures” of the Kejriwal government, the BJP is depending on the image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to sail through the crucial elections, after winning only three seats five years ago.

The prime minister’s rally at Ramleela Ground on December 22, where he mentioned his government’s move to provide property ownership rights in unauthorised colonies and slammed the Kejriwal dispensation on a range of issues including dirty water supply and air pollution, set the tone of BJP’s campaign for the polls. But the AAP launched a counter-campaign to highlight, “Achhe Beete Panch Saal, Lage Raho Kejriwal” (Last five years went well, keep going Kejriwal), expecting voters to support it for the work it did during its rule. The party is focusing on its schemes like providing free water and electricity, and free rides on public transport buses to women.

In the run-up to the polls, likely in February, the AAP has claimed achievements in the field of education and health, describing them as the best in the country. The party is likely to repeat some of its Lok Sabha candidates in the assembly polls. It is also trying to find new faces for the constituencies on which its MLAs have been disqualified. During the year, prominent people like former Congress Jharkhand unit chief Ajoy Kumar and four-time Congress MLA from Chandni Chowk assembly seat Prahlad Singh Sawhney joined the AAP.

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