The AAP has changed the grammar of politics in Delhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said Friday, suggesting that it compelled even Union Home Minister Amit Shah to talk about schools, hospitals and unauthorised colonies while campaigning for the BJP.
Addressing his first public rally in the run-up to the February 8 polls, Kejriwal appealed to workers of both BJP and Congress to remain with their parties, but cast votes for AAP, “so that the pace of development doesn’t suffer”.
The rally was held in the courtyard of a market in Rohini’s Sector 9, a constituency that had bucked the AAP wave in 2015. AAP candidate C L Gupta was defeated by BJP leader Vijender Gupta by around 5,000 votes.
On Friday, C L Gupta was present on the dais, along with the party’s candidate for the 2020 polls Rajesh Nama Bansiwala, who runs a chain of sweet shops in the area, which falls under the North West Delhi Lok Sabha constituency.
Kejriwal also read out the AAP’s 10 guarantees — which cover a range of areas from water and power to education and health — but the highlight of his speech was his emphasis on the “shift” in the city’s political dynamics, “where only work matters”. “I felt very good after listening to Amit Shah’s speech yesterday. In his speech, he spoke about schools, hospitals, unauthorised colonies. You people (pointing to the audience) have at least changed politics. Delhi ke andar kaam ki baat chalegi ab. Seeking votes in the name of caste, community and religion will not work anymore,” he said.
On Friday, Shah said Kejriwal and Congress MP Rahul Gandhi speak in the language of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. He also accused the AAP of “instigating” riots in the capital.
BJP MLA candidates including Kapil Mishra and Tajinder Singh Bagga have been trying to corner the AAP over the Shaheen Bagh protests against CAA and NRC. Kejriwal did talk about CAA and NRC in his town hall interactions, but only when his comments were sought.
On Friday, he stuck to the theme of development, bijli-paani, shiksha, and his efforts as chief minister over the last five years to fulfill the role of Delhi’s “elder son”, one who “pays the bills, takes care of education of children, medical needs of the family, takes the elderly on pilgrimages”.
“Never has it happened before that a party comes seeking votes in the name of schools and hospitals before the polls. Jats seek votes in the name of their community, baniyas do, Muslims do. BJP seeks votes in the name of Jats and non-Jats in Haryana, Maratha and non-Maratha in Maharashtra, Patel and non-Patel, Hindu-Muslim in Gujarat,” he said.
He said an RSS worker told him a few days ago that he will keep his ideology aside while voting in the Delhi polls, “because his son studies in a Delhi government school and he has seen the kind of transformative work we have carried out in education”.
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