Delhi elections: Modi, Kejriwal, Sonia address rallies on a star-studded Sunday; attack each other
Without naming AAP, the Prime Minister said to be in government is a serious responsibility.
New Delhi: On a star-studded Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal addressed public meetings in the national capital and came down heavily on each other. While Modi hit out at AAP and accused it of interested only in getting media attention, Kejriwal retorted to Modi's earlier charge and said he was not a 'Naxal'. Sonia slammed Modi and Kejriwal, saying one was a "pracharak" and the other a "dharnebaaj".
Addressing an election rally at Dwarka in West Delhi, Modi said, "If you give a government that believes in agitations, they won't have time to discuss your issues. They only need space in media."
Without naming AAP, the Prime Minister said to be in government is a serious responsibility. It is about understanding the pains of the common man, he said.
"Delhi needs a responsible, sensitive government. Running the government is a big responsibility and running away is not the answer," he said.
Delhi is going to polls on February 7 and counting of votes will be held on February 10. Extensive security arrangements were put in place to ensure peaceful conduct of the rally. Dwarka is a key constituency for AAP as there is a heavy presence of people from Poorvanchal.
Modi accused AAP and the Congress of colluding to grab power in the capital. He accused both the parties of spreading lies to malign the BJP and mislead voters. Sharpening his attack against AAP, he said the party was only interested in dharnas and not in effectively running the state government.
He appealed to the people of Delhi to vote for the BJP to ensure development in the capital, saying the voters should allow him to repay them for their support in the Lok Sabha polls.
"They misguide the people of India. They wake up and formulate lies to sensationalise. Such lies have never been pushed in the Delhi polls in the past," he said.
Modi said people considered him lucky that petrol prices came down. "If I am so lucky why vote for the other parties?" he said.
He further said the country needs a balanced growth. "Development of one region is not the development of the country. I want to take Delhi to new heights. This is not the responsibility of the Delhi government only. Government of India needs to take responsibility. Delhi is mini-India," he said.
The PM reiterated that India is getting younger while many other countries are getting older.
He spoke of his interactions with leaders of leading nations. "When I meet global leaders, I treat them as equals because I have the support of the people of India....No good luck is better than the blessing of 125 crore people," he said.
Kejriwal hit back at Modi for calling him a 'Naxal' and asked him not to indulge in "politics of abuses". Addressing an election rally in Shastri Nagar, Kejriwal said, "Am I a Naxal? It is not right. We should not indulge in the politics of abuses. We should discuss on issues."
He further said, "I had hoped that the PM will announce some big programmes for Delhi. But he only abused me in 70 per cent of his speech."
The AAP leader claimed that there is a strong support for AAP and entire Delhi has decided to form AAP government. "The people had hoped that the government will do something, but now people are saying they have been betrayed. The BJP has not fulfilled any promise. Speeches do not feed people," he said.
He alleged that before elections the BJP had promised to reduce electricity charges by 30 per cent but after coming to power electricity bills have gone up by 15 per cent. "They have increased the price of 107 medicines only to give profit to the Pharma companies," he further said.
Kejriwal said the PM said in his speech that the Centre will withdraw subsidy on gas cylinders and that subsidy will be available to only BPL people. "Those who do not have BPL cards will have to pay Rs 900 for LPG cylinders," he said.
The former Delhi CM said if the BJP did not know how to stop corruption, AAP can teach them. "They do not have intention. Money goes to higher ends, they will not do that," he said.
Kejriwal assured that whatever promises AAP has had made will be fulfilled. "Within two days we had reduced electricity charges. If we can do it in two days, why cannot they (BJP) do it. They have no intention," he said.
Sonia asked voters to save Delhi from those who make only "hollow promises". "While one party has a pracharak, who only does 'prachar' the other just has a dharnebaaj, who is all the time busy organising dharnas. Delhi needs good governance and not false promises... BJP and AAP can only talk big and make hollow promises.
"There is a need to be careful of those doing politics of pretension. The country is not run by mere slogans," she said. Addressing her first election rally for the February 7 Delhi polls at Meethapur near Badarpur, the Congress chief accused the Modi government of "weakening" the schemes initiated by the previous UPA dispensation, including on food security and land acquisition, and doing nothing to check corruption despite the "golden promises" made during the Lok Sabha polls.
She also raked up the issue of communal violence that took place in some parts of Delhi before the Assembly election dates were announced and alleged that it was being done to "capture power" in the state.
"There are some forces which cause incidents like what happened in Trilokpuri and Dilshad Garden. Such forces will have to be defeated which spread the politics of hatred," she said as she appealed to people to strengthen secular forces. Gandhi said that after the Assembly polls of 2013 in Delhi threw up a hung mandate, Congress had supported AAP in forming the government here, thinking they will deliver on their promise of making Delhi a better place. "But they could not run the government...and fled," she said.
"I ask them (AAP) whether it was not their job to fight corruption and provide cheap water and electricity. And then the other party (BJP) kept on delaying elections in Delhi and continued with its rule here in the name of President's rule," she said.
While hailing the previous Congress-led UPA dispensation for taking many "social and revolutionary steps", Gandhi said that the Modi government is snatching away the rights of the people by "weakening" those schemes.
Alleging that this was the "reality of their hollow promises" she said that while the UPA had brought the Food Security Act, "Modi government is trying to bring such changes in it which will limit the percentage of beneficiaries from 67 per cent to 40 per cent of the population." Addressing farmers, she said that those who had showed them "golden dreams" had now deprived them of even fertilisers and seeds while they were even less likely to receive proper prices for their produce.
"Why did we bring the Land Acquisition Act? We did it to ensure that no one forcibly takes away the land of farmers. What did the Modi government do? It opened the route for anybody to capture farmers' land by bringing in the Ordinance.
"We had worked hard to give the country the RTI Act, but those who talked of a corruption-free government have kept the post of CIC Commissioner vacant and given a free hand to corrupt people," Gandhi said as she sought to warn people against voting the BJP to power in Delhi. She said that while Modi had made big promises, she would like to ask him "where is the black money from which every citizen was supposed to get Rs 15 lakh each".
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