BJP puts best foot forward for Delhi polls

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 24, 2018 Published on February 05, 2015

Curtains down Union Ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Ravi Shanker Prasad at a press conference on the last day of campaigning for Delhi Assembly polls, in the Capital on Thursday S SUBRAMANIUM

Party leadership scrambles to distance Central government from Assembly poll results

Late night parleys in the BJP headquarters and day-long public meetings in all the 70 constituencies were rounded up by a sharp attack on the AAP, as the campaign drew to a close on Thursday for the Delhi Assembly elections.

The most curious development at the culmination of the election campaign was the assertion by Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu as well as BJP president Amit Shah that the election results in Delhi cannot be “seen as a referendum” on the Central government.

Naidu had said so earlier on Wednesday while Shah, in an interview to a television channel on Thursday, repeated the assertion: “It is true that this is an election for a Chief Minister. Election in a State and cannot be a referendum (about Centre’s functioning)…While this is indeed true that the good work of the Government of India has its impact on elections, a State election cannot become a referendum because of that.”

The BJP’s former spokespersons and ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad and Nirmala Sitharaman did not want to comment on what the party president implied by underlining the need to distance the Central government from elections in Delhi.

Prasad also refused to discuss the deliberations in a meeting conducted by Shah till about 3 am on Thursday.

“When we meet, where we meet and what we talk about in internal meetings is not for the media’s consumption,” Prasad quipped.

Targeting AAP

What he did reveal was that the BJP had, between January 24 and February 4, held as many as 318 public meetings in Delhi, including four rallies by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. While Prasad focused on how “positive and methodical” the BJP’s campaign has been, Sitharaman accused the AAP of distributing money and liquor to voters besides accepting funds from dubious companies.

She said the AAP candidate from Trinagar had been found to have fake educational certificates. Sitharaman backed her accusations with video clips of a woman wearing a white cap who seemed to be disbursing money in an election rally addressed by AAP leader Kumar Vishwas.

Attacks personal?

She said there is an FIR against AAP leaders at Nehru Colony police station in Dehradun for misappropriation of funds collected in the name of flood relief in Uttarakhand. “And their candidate from Trinagar has a fake law degree. These are the standards of the so-called custodians of morality and transparency in public life,” Sitharaman said.

When asked why the BJP is resorting to such personalised attacks, she said: “When you organise smear campaigns against others, when you refer to all of us as ‘thieves’, you should be prepared to face scrutiny of your own conduct.”

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Published on February 05, 2015
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