Gautam Gambhir
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s East-Delhi parliamentary candidate Gautam Gambhir with party leaders during an election campaign rally, in New Delhi on Friday. Image Credit: PTI

New Delhi: Nationalism, decisive leadership, full statehood, sealing and employment dominated the election campaigning in the national capital this election season.

The BJP kept up nationalism and decisive leadership of it government throughout the election campaigning in Delhi.

The party highlighted how the Narendra Modi-led NDA government at the Centre gave a befitting reply to Pakistan after Pulwama terror attack in February this year and the attack on an army base camp in Uri in 2016.

All the seven BJP candidates during their public meetings and road shows have hailed the BJP government for carrying out surgical strikes across the border in 2016 and carrying out air strikes in Pakistan’s Balakot in February this year.

The BJP has fielded Union Minister Harsh Vardhan from Chandni Chowk, cricketer-turned-politician Gautam Gambhir from East Delhi, singer-turned-politician Hans Raj Hans from North-West Delhi, Pravesh Singh Verma from West Delhi, Bhojpuri actor and singer Manoj Tiwari from North-East Delhi, Meenakshi Lekhi from New Delhi and Ramesh Bidhuri from South Delhi. The BJP replaced two of its sitting MPs from East Delhi and North-West Delhi.

The party replaced Mahesish Girri with Gambhir in East Delhi and Udit Raj with Hans Raj Hans in North-West Delhi.

The BJP, which had won all the seven seats also highlighted the issue of security of the people in the national capital by saying that no bomb blasts were reported in Delhi in the last five years.

AAP pitch

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) also announced that it would contest all the seven seats after its talks of alliance with the Congress failed. It pitched the issue of full statehood. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) accused the BJP-led Central government of disrupting the functioning of its government.

The AAP has fielded Atishi in East Delhi, Brijesh Goyal in New Delhi, Raghav Chadha in South Delhi, Gugan Singh in North-West Delhi, Dilip Pandey in North East Delhi, Pankaj Gupta in Chandani Chowk and Balbirt Singh Jakhar in West Delhi Lok Sabha seats.

The Congress campaign, on the other hand, took up the sealing drive (the shutting down of illegal commercial units) in Delhi and highlighted the development works of former chief minister Sheila Dikshit’s 15-year tenure. The Congress also highlighted the steps that the Congress-led UPA-1 government took in 2006 to stop the sealing drive.

The Congress has fielded former Union Minister Ajay Maken in New Delhi, Dikshit in North-East Delhi, J.P. Agarwal in Chandani Chowk, boxer Vijender Singh in South Delhi, Rajesh Lilothia in North West Delhi, Mahabal Mishra in West Delhi and Arvinder Singh Lovely in East Delhi.

The Congress also promised the voters that if it comes to power, the issue of sealing will be stopped within a year. The grand old party also pitched the issue of the 2.2 million government vacancies and said that it would fill the posts within a year.

Kejriwal slapped

But the elections campaigning during the last few days got murkier as AAP national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was slapped during a road show in New Delhi parliamentary constituency’s Karampura area.

The other controversy erupted over the affidavit filed by Gambhir. The AAP even approached the Election Commission seeking cancellation of Gambhir’s candidature.

The Congress candidate from East Delhi Arvinder Singh Lovely also described his rivals Atishi and Gambhir as political tourists.

But the worst came on Thursday, when Atishi, while reading out the contents of the pamphlet, broke down twice during a press conference and said that she was very pained on seeing it. She also asked that how women would feel safe if men like Gambhir get elected.

Gambhir then served defamation notices on Kejriwal, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Atishi after she alleged that the former cricketer had distributed pamphlets containing “obscene and derogatory” remarks against her in the East Delhi constituency.

The political parties also added glam quotient in their campaigning in the nation capital as BJP roped in Bollywood actor and the party’s candidate from Punjab’s Gurdaspur Sunny Deol, actor-politician Hema Malini, Punjabi singer Daler Mehandi, Haryanwi folk singer Sapna Chaudhary, Bhojpuri actor and singers Pawan Singh and Khesari Lal Yadav.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also held a public meeting in the national capital’s Ramlila Maidan and targeted the Congress over the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

While addressing the rally in Delhi on Wednersday Modi said, “The Congress has brought the NYAY [justice] scheme. But when will they give justice to the victims of the anti-Sikh riots?”

BJP President Amit Shah, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath also addressed public meetings.

Bollywood actor Swara Bhaskar participated in the campaigning for the AAP candidate Atishi.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi also held two public meetings for the party’s East Delhi and Chandni Chowk candidates.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also participated in two road shows in support of North-East Delhi and South Delhi party candidates.

The election campaigning in the national capital came to an end on Friday. Delhi will vote on May 12 in the sixth phase of Lok Sabha polls.