On the eve of the assembly election in Delhi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley cautioned voters that their choice was between “governance and anarchy”, and told them that the result would impact the “country’s image”.
“Delhi election has its importance because Delhi is the face of the country, and how government runs here is a reflection on the country’s image. Delhi can be a symbol of good governance,” Jaitley said.
“The dilution and disappearance of the Congress is the political price they are paying because of what they did to the country and Delhi… The third party (AAP) is the face of anarchy… Those 49 days (when Arvind Kejriwal was CM)were nightmare for Delhiites. They (AAP) were more comfortable on the street than in the office…Thus, tomorrow’s contest is a choice between governance and anarchy,” he said.
Jaitley said AAP leaders had threatened to disrupt the Republic Day parade, and sympathised with terrorists rather than the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir. “These are all faces of anarchy… They talk about honesty and then give tickets to the land mafia. They allege political conspiracy when their candidate is caught with liquor bottles,” he said.
Police have summoned the AAP nominee from Uttam Nagar, Naresh Balyan, in connection with the recovery of a large volume of liquor. Kejriwal on Friday decried the “false allegations” against Balyan, and accused the police of acting under pressure from the BJP.
Jaitley, who addressed reporters along with a battery of leaders including the BJP’s CM candidate Kiran Bedi and union Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, said the campaign had been “satisfying”. The BJP, which appeared low on morale on Thursday, appeared to have somewhat recovered 24 hours later — with top leaders expressing confidence that the party would ultimately pull through.
Jaitley refused to equate the assembly election with a referendum on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government. “A referendum is a referendum and an election is an election,” he said. Despite the BJP having made the PM the focus of its campaign with the slogan ‘Dilli chale Modi ke saath’, party chief Amit Shah and union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu have earlier said the poll could not be seen as a referendum on Modi’s government.
The Finance Minister said the intense campaign by top BJP leaders was not a reflection of nervousness. “Working hard does not mean that we are not comfortable… We put all our effort into all elections, we put our hearts and souls into it,” Jaitley said.
BJP leaders concede they are desperate to win Delhi, but are worried on some counts. “The middle class, which constitutes a large portion of Delhi’s population, has to be pulled to the booths. Our biggest concern is they are not as enthusiastic as in the Lok Sabha elections. We are also not sure about the 15-20 per cent undecided voters,” a senior leader said.
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