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Campaigning reaches feverish pitch in Delhi

Manisha Jha

— Photo: Shanker Chakravarty

AICC general secretary and MP Rahul Gandhi at a public meeting at Tahirpur on Wednesday.

NEW DELHI: With just two days to go for the Delhi Assembly elections, campaigning reached a feverish pitch in the Capital on Wednesday with bigwigs of all major parties, including Mayawati of the Bahujan Samaj Party and L.K. Advani and Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party, hitting the road to woo voters.

And after Mr. Advani and Ms. Mayawati, it was the turn of the young Congress MP and Gandhi scion Rahul Gandhi to keep his date with Delhi’s voters as he set out on a roadshow, addressing his first public meeting at Tahirpur in East Delhi after having addressed a series of rallies in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh earlier.

Lashing out at the BJP’s strategy for the Delhi elections, the Congress general secretary said the saffron party’s campaign was focussed solely on “shortcomings” of the Congress government in Delhi and that the party had no poll manifesto of its own.

“The BJP leaders are not saying what they will do if they win this election. Instead all that they are saying is that the Congress has not done any work in the past ten years. I was going through the website of V. K. Malhotra of the BJP to see his manifesto and vision. But I found that of the first ten pages of the manifesto, the first five were devoted to the Congress and the remaining five too did not contain much,” he said.

“For running a government and participating in politics it is important for a leader to have a dream and think how that dream would benefit the people. For the last ten years Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has been pursuing a dream of Delhi’s progress and development whereas the BJP is just looking at the Congress dream and finding faults in it as it has no dream and vision of its own,” he added.

Mr. Gandhi recounted the development initiatives of the Sheila Dikshit Government and urged people to vote for the Congress once again to keep up the pace of development.

“Delhi has progressed in the past ten years and it is visible, be it in the number of schools, hospitals and colleges that have been opened or the new flyovers and expansion of the metro railway network. Whenever someone comes to Delhi after about two months they tell me that Delhi is changing so fast that they are unable to find old routes as so many new roads have been laid and the entire road layout map of the city has transformed in the past ten years,” he said.

Reiterating the Congress party’s “aam aadmi” mantra, Mr. Gandhi said: “In Delhi there are two Congress governments, one of Sheila Dikshit and another of Dr. Manmohan Singh. The important thing that they are the governments of the common man, the poor and the backward people. We are committed to working for the uplift of the poor and underprivileged and we will achieve a lot more in the next five years in Delhi than we have in the past ten.”

Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, who was also present at the rally, not only recounted her government’s achievements but also tried her hand at crowd management by urging the women to occupy their designated space. She also defended her government over price rise and challenged the BJP to prove any of its accomplishments in Delhi even as the crowds waved Congress flags and cheered her on with the slogan “Mohar lagegi Congress ko”.

The rally was preceded by an impressive road-show in the trans-Yamuna area in support of Anil Choudhary who is contesting from Patparganj against Nakul Bhardwaj of the BJP.

The roadshow saw the leader giving a miss to his usual high-security protocol and mingling with the crowds who turned up in large numbers showering flowers and garlands on him.

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