Delhi polls: Modi, Shah lead BJP's nationalism pitch to target Kejriwal

PM Modi, Delhi elections,

Top BJP leaders on Tuesday combined the party's core planks of nationalism and Hindutva to target the AAP, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking people to vote for a party that supports the CAA, surgical strikes and Article 370 abrogation, and does not practice politics of vote bank.

At his second poll rally here, Modi highlighted his government's works, including the building of peripheral highways and extension of metro network. He also attacked Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, saying he did not fulfil his promises and instead blocked the Centre's schemes for health insurance and houses for the poor.

While the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests in Shaheen Bagh did not figure in Modi's speech, Home Minister Amit Shah mentioned the agitation that has become a dominant theme of the saffron party to galvanise its voters.

Seeking votes for his party, Shah said that in the Delhi polls leaders like Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal, who are "supporting" Shaheen Bagh protests, are on one hand while "patriots" under Modi are on the other.

At a rally in Delhi Cantt, Shah made light of Kejriwal's dare to the BJP to name its chief ministerial candidate so that he could debate him on the issue of development. The BJP leader said any party worker can do it and that every Delhi citizen is BJP's chief ministerial candidate.

Another leading BJP campaigner, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, took potshots at Kejriwal and said the Delhi CM has started reciting 'Hanuman Chalisa' and AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi can now be expected to follow suit.

Addressing a meeting in Kirari, Adityanath cited Modi government's initiatives to withdraw Jammu and Kashmir's special status and to build Ram temple in Ayodhya to seek votes for the BJP.

Modi told a rally in Dwarka, where he was joined by the BJP ally and Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala, that voters must punish those who insult the armed forces and that Delhi does not need a government which gives opportunity to enemies to attack us.

The prime minister touched on various issues, including the 2008 Batla House encounter, surgical strikes and his government's flagship Ayushman Bharat scheme during a speech that lasted a little over an hour.

Modi trained his guns at the AAP government and the Congress, and exhorted voters to back the BJP.

"You must punish those who insult the armed forces. You should vent your anger through your vote. Delhi does not need a government which gives opportunity to enemies to attack us," he said.

He said the national capital needs a government that will give it direction and not resort to blame games.

Everyone remembers how the head of the Delhi government had used "derogatory" language for the police force, Modi said.

"It shows their mindset. In contrast, our government has built National Police Memorial honouring their sacrifices. It shows our values," he said, adding that his party unlike its rivals does not practice the politics of appeasement and vote bank.

"Delhi needs a government that will not resort to appeasement but support the CAA, abolition of (special provisions of) Article 370 and issues of national security," he said in Dwarka and asked people to get rid of the AAP government on February 8 when polls are to be held.

Touching on development issues, Modi said his government built peripheral expressways around Delhi, doing away with the need for thousands of vehicles to enter the capital, and is working on rapid rail system to connect the capital with nearby cities to save commuting time.

"You voted for the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls to change the country and it is happening," he said, adding that they should now vote for his party to change Delhi.

The BJP had won all seven Lok Sabha seats.

At his rally, Shah said Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Kejriwal did not want Article 370 scrapped due to their vote bank politics but the BJP believes in doing proudly what is in the interest of the country.

He claimed that Ganga river was cleaned in Uttar Pradesh but Yamuna in the national capital remains dirty and said the Kejriwal government has failed to fulfil most of its promises about education, health and other issues.

The BJP is heading towards a "big and historic" victory in the polls, as people have made up their minds to remove the AAP which practices the politics of "lies and confusion".

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel