On the day the Election Commission of India announced the schedule for the Lok Sabha polls, the Aam Aadmi Party launched its campaign for full statehood for Delhi, which is its major election theme.
AAP asked the BJP and the Congress to come clean on their stand on the issue. It organised a protest at the BJP headquarters on Sunday and asked the party if the demand for full statehood, which had featured in its past election manifestos and was promised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the campaign before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, would feature this time round.
The Congress’ plank in the run-up to the polls has been to highlight the achievements during its 15-year rule in Delhi while the BJP is planning to highlight the achievements of the Modi government over the past five years.
Despite Delhi Congress chief Sheila Dikshit ruling out the possibility of a tie-up with AAP after meeting Rahul Gandhi last week, sources in both parties said the possibility of an alliance has not been ruled out yet as several Congress leaders are in favour of an alliance to ensure that the non-BJP votes are not split.
Both parties, however, continue to launch attacks at each other. Ms. Dikshit has told party workers to go door-to-door to remind the voters about the development work that “transformed” Delhi during the 15 years that the party was in power, and how the work has “stopped” over the past four years.
Attacking the BJP, AAP convener Gopal Rai said that elections would decide the fate of the country and also of Delhi. He said the city’s interests were badly hurt during the five-year “dictatorship” of the Modi government. “The people of Delhi will get to avenge the way the Modi government has been putting a spanner in all the development works being undertaken by the Delhi government by voting for change,” Mr. Rai said immediately after the poll dates were announced.
The BJP, in turn, attacked AAP for not implementing several development schemes introduced by the Centre and said thousands of Delhiites have not been able to get the benefits due to the AAP government. The BJP is now engaged in an assessment exercise aimed at evaluating all seven of its sitting MPs from Delhi based on feedback from their constituents as well as from the local leadership.