Delhi MCD polls 2017: At Arvind Kejriwal event, a Punjab redux

Kejriwal, in his fourth public rally on Monday, sounded increasingly like he did during the days of his whirlwind Punjab tours.

Written by Sweta Dutta | New Delhi | Published:April 4, 2017 2:58 am
Chief Minister Kejriwal at a rally in Badli. Praveen Khanna

As Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal finds himself pitted against political heavyweights from the BJP and the Congress in the upcoming municipal polls, he seems to be falling back on the strategy he used in the Assembly polls in Punjab and Goa — to list out “achievements” of his “two-year corruption-free governance” in the capital. Kejriwal, in his fourth public rally on Monday, sounded increasingly like he did during the days of his whirlwind Punjab tours. Just that his targets have changed from the Badals and Captain Amarinder Singh to former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.

While the upcoming municipal polls slated for April 23 will have little to do with Dikshit, Kejriwal is pitting his two years of governance against Dikshit’s rule in an attempt to draw out his own “achievements”.  In his fourth rally since Friday, when he kicked off his campaign from Burari, Kejriwal reached out to a gathering of roughly over 3,000 locals and party workers in Swaroop Nagar — part of the Badli Assembly constituency. Despite arriving over 90 minutes behind schedule, Kejriwal managed to hold his audience’s attention throughout his 25-minute speech.

“In two years, the amount of work that we have done by far exceeds what the BJP and the Congress have achieved in other states where they have been in power for 10 or 15 years. Ek ek kaam ginwaunga. Saare ginwaye toh raat beet jaegi. Chaar paanch bataunga. (I will spell out each achievement. If I enumerate all of them it will take the entire night. So I will tell you about four or five),” Kejriwal told the crowd.

He reeled off his pet projects implemented since February 2015 — power and water tariff subsidies, mohalla clinics and free diagnostic tests and medicines, qualitative changes in government schools, flyovers being built at lower costs.

He repeatedly tried driving home the point that a ‘corruption-free government can make things possible’ and that unlike his predecessor, the Kejriwal government is ‘not short of funds’.

Amid hard-selling Delhi government’s work, he also put out his two sops for the polls — the promise of house tax waiver and water and power subsidies for tenants. Badli Assembly constituency — which has five municipal wards and is a rural seat with a dominant lower middle class, and also a sizeable migrant votebase — has backed Kejriwal earlier and the new largesse seemed to strike the right chord as the audience applauded noisily.

The party is also banking heavily on its local MLA Ajesh Yadav, who is funding some of

the municipal poll candidates. Despite the party’s stand on one ticket per family, Yadav’s relative, Anil Kumari, has been fielded from Swaroop Nagar.

“He is my uncle. Not a very close relative but, yes, we are from the same family,” said Kumari’s husband, Paras Yadav, who also works for the MLA. “We are a political family. My relatives have also been in the Congress and the BJP and my uncle is doing great work in this constituency. People are very happy with AAP’s performance.”

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