The BJP may have unleashed a battery of central leaders to spearhead its campaign in the last leg, but one thing that remains unchanged in the party’s campaign tone is the constant reference to PM Narendra Modi’s name with hardly any mention of BJP CM candidate Kiran Bedi.
Addressing a jan sabha at Tri Nagar, Union HRD minister Smriti Irani centered her speech around Modi, with over 10 references in an 11-minute extempore. She mentioned Bedi only once. At another jan sabha addressed by BJP star campaigner Navjot Singh Sidhu at Rangpuri Pahadi, he referred to Modi 10 times and Bedi only four times.
Even in the single reference, Irani mentioned Bedi along with Modi. Replying to Tri Nagar candidate Nand Kishore Garg’s statement — “Tri Nagar main mach gaya shor, Narendra Modi Nand Kishore”, she said, “Sach kaho to aaj Tri Nagar ke janta ke madhyam se ek trimurti Dilli main staapith ho sakti hai — Nand Kishore, doosri taraf Bediji aur tessri aur Narendra Modiji ki rashtriya maargdarshak par vikas ko gati Dilli main milegi. (Through the people of Tri Nagar, Delhi can have a triumvirate, Nand Kishore, Bedi and Modi).”
The jan sabhas drew little enthusiasm from people with most seats empty initially. Twenty minutes before Irani arrived at the Tri Nagar rally, most seats were empty. At Rangpuri Pahadi, neither slogans of ‘Jahan jhuggi wahan makaan’ nor Sidhu’s jokes drew the crowd. A little distance away from the rally, life went on as usual, with many not even aware that Sidhu was among them. “We didn’t even know there is a rally here,” auto-driver Mohammad Anwar (34) said.