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Arvind Kejriwal's Final Gamble or Did He Get it Horribly Wrong?

Subhajit Sengupta | CNN-News18 SubhajitSG

Updated: April 21, 2017, 10:29 PM IST
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Arvind Kejriwal's Final Gamble or Did He Get it Horribly Wrong?
File image of Arvind Kejriwal. (Image: Getty Images)

New Delhi: Under the shadow of AAP's surprise defeat in Punjab and BJP's stupendous performance in Uttar Pradesh, the MCD elections have become a prestige fight for BJP and a battle of survival for AAP. Thus, it is no longer a fight for the three MCDs but has become 'The Mission Delhi'.

Top leaders of BJP hit the campaign trail. Uma Bharti spoke about partition and Ayodhya; Rajnath Singh told Delhiites how for the first time Indian army chased the terrorists inside Pakistan's territory; and Smriti Irani invoked how only Prime Minister Narendra Modi can solve Delhi's problems. Somehow, the anti-incumbency of the 10 years of BJP at the municipal corporation level appears to have been washed out by the aura of Prime Minister Modi. But what would AAP do now?

Probably that's what prompted Kejriwal's 2 pm outburst. Just hours before the campaigning was supposed to end, Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal played his final card. He told the Delhi voters, "If you vote for BJP, and someone in your house suffers from dengue or chikungunya you will be held responsible for it. If BJP comes to power in MCD, then Delhi will remain dirty for the next five years."

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Did he attempt to bring the conversation back on the issues like sanitation, cleanliness, fumigation and garbage, an area where BJP hasn't fared too well in the last few years? But what is the lasting image that the voters are left with? A chief minister who refuses to take responsibility? Or is he invoking the fear of dengue to extract votes from the hapless parents?

This was a campaign much unlike the other AAP campaigns, the process was kept away from media. Most of Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia's rallies were not advertised to the media. The idea, many in the party said, was to connect with the people directly and not the medium. Many say that is also the reason why a party used to disproportionate air time was reduced to the third position in terms of air time, even in their den.

Did the party realise that the policy of seclusion was not working? Was this an attempt to return to the drawing room conversations? But while they are now back in the discourse and would continue to hog the space till Sunday, the voting day, is this attention going to get them votes or scare them away?

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First Published: April 21, 2017, 10:16 PM IST
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