Mann, a two-time Lok Sabha MP from Sangrur in Punjab, was critical of both the BJP and the Congress at a public meeting in east Delhi's Pandav Nagar, under Lakshmi Nagar constituency.
Aam Aadmi Party leader Bhagwant Mann on Friday urged the people of Delhi to vote keeping in mind issues like education, healthcare, infrastructure and women security, instead of getting divided on religious and caste lines in the coming assembly polls.
Mann, a two-time Lok Sabha MP from Sangrur in Punjab, was critical of both the BJP and the Congress at a public meeting in east Delhi’s Pandav Nagar, under Lakshmi Nagar constituency. “They try to divide us in the name of religion and caste. But we should vote on merit of work done in schools, power and water supply, women security, healthcare, civic issues like sewage and drainage, roads. Enough of the fight they want to keep us engaged in,” the party’s star campaigner said.
“I know and you also know that the ‘achche din’ promised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi won’t arrive, but if you go and vote on ‘jhaadu’ (AAP’s election symbol) on February 8, you will get Arvind Kejriwal’s ‘sachche din’ on February 11 (the election result date),” Mann told the gathering.
“Acche Din” (good days) was a catchphrase used by BJP in the run up to the 2014 Lok Sabha election when Modi, the then Gujarat chief minister, was its prime ministerial candidate. In a 50-minute speech peppered with humour, Mann said the AAP government in Delhi was transparent in its work and the chief minister is a “simple, approachable man”, unlike politicians in other states who move in cavalcades and hardly interact with the common citizens.
The AAP leader also criticised a section of media for “creating a fear psychosis” among the public with its content that is largely “scaring people” and is focussed on “irrelevant issues and debates”. He also took a jibe at rival parties’ leaders for speaking the same thing over the years and not doing anything about the “real issues”.
“Every year the prime minister makes similar speeches from the Red Fort. Nothing has changed, not even their speeches. They express concern over poverty, more concern over inflation and serious concern over terrorism. If they cannot change our fortunes, at least change the speeches,” Mann said.
He claimed politicians “knew” that they need not change their attitude because the pubic had no option than the BJP and the Congress. “Now, Arvind Kejriwal has given the third option, an alternative,” Mann said, as he compared the BJP and the Congress as two millstones of a gristmill only “grinding” the public between them.
He claimed the two national parties had “such a situation” fighting the assembly poll in Delhi that “they are not even able to find 70 candidates” to represent them. “They are distributing tickets the way a newspaper hawker throws a newspaper at people’s home in the morning. Their candidates are scared of defeat,” he said.
Training guns on Congress, he said Rahul Gandhi claims to provide 700 units of power for “free” when the government run by his own party in Punjab was charging a tariff of Rs 9.50 per unit. Lakshmi Nagar constituency in East Delhi will see a contest between sitting MLA Nitin Tyagi of AAP, Abhay Kumar Verma of BJP and Hari Dutt Sharma of Congress, among others.
AAP’s Tyagi said if re-elected his priority would be to get gates installed in residential areas, get more CCTV cameras for security, beautify markets to boost trade, and also work on improving sewerage in the area.
Election to the 70-member legislative assembly is scheduled for February 8 and its result would be out on February 11. In last elections, AAP had won 67 seats, while BJP emerged winner on three seats