Delhi election: Dikshit confident, Kejriwal ready to make dent

The Congress and the BJP will be the main players in Delhi although the AAP has emerged as a third force in the national capital. Congress has won the last three elections in Delhi.

With the Election Commission announcing the date of the election in five states, namely, Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhatisgarh and Mizoram, the governments and the opposition in all the states have sped up their election campaign.

Soon after the announcement by the EC, Delhi chief minister Shiela Dikshit ruled out anti-incumbency factor in the Congress-led central government impacting her party’s prospects in the December assembly elections in the capital.

Speaking to a TV news channel, Dikshit said, “The people of Delhi understand this is not a central government (elections). They have to cast votes. This is a local government, they have to elect.”

The Congress-led UPA-II government has been dogged by corruption and alleged scams over the years, but Delhi’s three-time chief minister said the people would judge her government’s 15-year rule in Delhi. The state government had organised the 2010 Commonwealth Games which was also mired in alleged corruption.

However, the metro rail project which has made life of Delhi people easy will be a major factor for people to vote. But the recent glitches in the Metro functioning and the snags which hit Airport express metro will also be a decisive factor.

“We leave it to their common sense of what has happened under the Congress government for the past 15 years,” she added.

Asked about Aam Aadmi Party’s chief Arvind Kejriwal dubbing the election a contest between “honesty” and “corruption”, Dikshit said, “Everybody has tried to portray us as a corrupt government but failed miserably.”

“In the Commonwealth Games scam, the government in Delhi has not been indicted even once. Wherever there has been a shadow of doubt, the government of Delhi has replied paragraph by paragraph, sentence by sentence and we have come out clean,” said Dikshit.

“We will fight elections with confidence. Our achievements are seen as well as felt by the people. The development is visible,” she said.

“Aren’t flyovers visible? Isn’t the Metro visible,” she asked.

When asked about the message she would convey to the electorate in Delhi, she said: “We will give the message to people when the election process starts.”

While Dikshit will seek a straight fourth term for her party, BJP will seek to return to power after 15 years. The 2012-formed Aam Aadmi Party will debut in this year’s polls.

The BJP and Congress are “afraid” of the Aam Admi Party (AAP) and are pulling out all stops to ensure that it doesn’t come to power, party leader Arvind Kejriwal said on Friday.

“It appears that they are fighting the election together against us… they are not attacking each other but only me and my party,” Kejriwal told media persons in Delhi.

“The BJP and the Congress are putting up posters against me saying that I betrayed Anna (Hazare) but there is not a single Congress poster against (Delhi BJP chief) Vijay Goel or a BJP poster attacking (Chief Minister) Sheila Dikshit,” he added.

He termed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress equally corrupt. “Both the parties don’t mind losing as long as AAP does not win because be it BJP or Congress, if any of them form the government, they will benefit each other as they have been doing for years now,” he said. “They are desperate to ensure that we lose,” he added.

Confident of winning at least 47 seats in Delhi, Kejriwal said that the results this time would “amaze” everyone. “The results will amaze everybody. It will be a government of the people by the people for the people,” he said.

Much before other parties, AAP declared its candidates much in advance in order to spend more time with the people building good relations with them. There are no big banners, no cavalry and no SUVs for them. Without any political funding, they are using the most humble mean of meeting face to face with the people of their constituency. Although the door-to-door campaigning is leading them to collection of substantial funds.

The party has even deployed modern means of publicity and campaigning. They send bulk messages on mobile informing people about their schedule and meetings. The party volunteers are reaching out to people in the city and are promising to address their concerns regarding governance, civic issues etc. The party is getting a good response in middle-class areas.

In a bid to appear ‘different’ from other parties, Kejriwal has also introduced the concept of ‘swaraj’ where local development will be carried out in consultation with citizens. Anna Hazare had got the Maharashtra government to incorporate “Swaraj” in local urban bodies after the 2009 general elections, otherwise community participation in India is limited to village local bodies.

Kejriwal has been targeting the Congress for its poor performance and the BJP for failing as an opposition in the city where the Congress has been in power for almost 15 years. Kejriwal’s rallies in middle-class colonies like Rohini, Janakpuri, Saraswati Vihar, RK Puram and Mayur Vihar have evoked a good response.

The Aam Aadmi Party also used Prakash Jha’s movie Satyagraha to attract people to its fold. A number of volunteers were seen at movie theatres of Connaught Place as well as near popular shops and restaurants of the area, spreading AAP’s message.

Kejriwal had written an open letter to all Delhiites, urging them to convince at least five people each day, until the polls, to vote for AAP. In his letter, Kejriwal had said that even though the movement had turned into a revolution, little had been done to set the Janlokpal Bill in motion.

“It’s been two years since Annaji launched the movement at Ramlila Ground, but it has had no effect. This time, in the assembly polls we will contest all 70 seats and within 15 days of forming the government, we will clear the Janlokpal Bill in Delhi,” the letter read.

However, the question hangs in the balance as to whether the party could maintain its position with Narendra Modi from BJP already rallied in Delhi and Congress now increasing its tempo.

Assembly elections will take place in Delhi Dec 4 and the votes will be counted Dec 8.

The Congress and the BJP will be the main players in Delhi although the AAP has emerged as a third force in the national capital. Congress has won the last three elections in Delhi.

There are 70 assembly seats in the capital.

-with inputs from IANS

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