The campaign for February 8 Delhi Assembly election reached its crescendo on Monday with stalwarts from the BJP, the AAP and the Congress launching a no-holds-barred attack on rivals on issues like anti-CAA protest at Shaheen Bagh and performance of the Kejriwal government.
In his first first public meeting ahead of polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi trained his guns at protests against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) currently underway at Shaheen Bagh, Jamia and Seelampur, saying it was not a coincidence, but an "experiment" and a political conspiracy to destroy the country's harmony, as he accused the AAP and the Congress of fuelling the stir for vote bank politics.
Union Minister and BJP in-charge of Delhi polls Prakash Javadekar targeted Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, saying the AAP leader had called himself an "anarchist" and there is "not much of a difference between an anarchist and a terrorist".
Kejriwal took out roadshows in various parts of the city, while his party tried to corner the BJP for allegedly calling him "terrorists" by releasing a video in which the kin of 'martyred' Delhi police officer, who was given compensation by AAP government, expressed their disapproval of the remarks by BJP leaders against the chief minister.
BJP's firebrand leader and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath continued his blistering attack on Kejriwal at public meetings, saying the AAP leader has become a "toy in the hands of antisocial and anti-India elements". The Aam Aadmi Party on Monday approached the Election Commission against Yogi Adityanath, BJP MP Parvesh Verma and other BJP leaders for alleged objectionable remarks against Kejriwal, and demanded an FIR against them.
"We met the CEC and raised the issue of statements of several BJP leaders. BJP MP Parvesh Verma called the CM a terrorist. We also demanded action against UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath for his Pakistan remark against the Delhi CM," AAP leader Sanjay Singh said.
He alleged the BJP does not have any issue to raise in the Delhi assembly election and was trying to defer the polls. For the Congress, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh joined the campaign on Monday and targeted both the AAP and the BJP, saying Delhi has suffered in the turf war of the two parties and only Congress can bring development in the city.
Singh, participating in a roadshow for Congress candidate from Kalkaji constituency, alleged that Kejriwal had done "nothing exceptional" by providing cheap power and healthcare in Delhi as all Congress chief ministers have been doing it in states and alleged the AAP leader was a "shifty character" who had "mastered the art of deceit and lies to mislead people".
Addressing an election rally in Hari Nagar, he also hit out at the BJP, accusing it of converting "the entire country into Shaheen Bagh", using it to polarise elections in Delhi and in the process destroying India's foundations.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar tried to woo voters in Wajeerpur. He alleged that Kejriwal government did not work in areas where people from Bihar lived in Delhi.
BSP supremo Mayawati also addressed a rally in support of her party candidates in Delhi elections at Talkatora stadium. She said the CAA and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) had made life more difficult for Muslims, as she appealed to the voters of Delhi not to get lured by the "enticing manifestos" of the Congress, BJP and AAP.
Mayawati said if her party wins the upcoming Delhi Assembly polls, it would bring development on the lines of the BSP-ruled Uttar Pradesh, driven by the principle of "sarvajan hitaye, sarvajan sukhaye".
Top BJP leaders including party president JP Nadda and Union ministers Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Piyush Goel, Hardeep Puri and Smriti Irani also slammed the Kejriwal government, accusing it of failing to fulfil its promises and supporting "anti-national" elements.
Shah claimed that former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru had promised citizenship to minorities from Pakistan but the Congress is now protesting the amended citizenship law because it is "afraid of its vote bank in Shaheen Bagh". Addressing an election rally in support of the BJP candidate from Rajinder Nagar, R P Singh, he said the February 8 polls were no longer for electing assembly members and a chief minister but were a contest between two ideologies.
"On one hand, there are people who stand with Shaheen Bagh and on the other hand, there are people who enter Pakistan and avenge the death of our soldiers," he said. In his rallies, Shah and other BJP leaders have been referring to the sit-in by anti-CAA protesters at Shaheen Bagh here since December 15, asking people to vote for the BJP to show their disapproval for the stir.
"Kejriwal only cheated Delhi people in past five years," Shah said in his election meetings. Irani, while addressing meetings in Srinagar, Madipur and Patel Nagar, said, "Why are Kejriwal, Congress and 'tukde tukde' gang pained if the BJP came out with the CAA for giving citizenship to victims."
Campaigning for the polls will conclude on February 6 evening. The elections for Delhi Assembly's 70 seats will be held on February 8. Results will be declared on February 11.