Ahead of Delhi Assembly Election 2020, the three big political stakeholders — BJP, Congress and the ruling Aam Aadmi Party — went head to head on issues like Shaheen Bagh, electricity, water, good governance and other issues pertaining to Delhi. In a heated debate during India TV's mega conclave - Chunav Manch, BJP's Sudhanshu Trivedi, AAP's Sanjay Singh and Congress' Krishna Tirath spoke at length about issues on which the upcoming Delhi Elections will be fought. While the AAP representative defended the work done by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the national capital in the last 5 years, both the BJP and the Congress countered the claim with narrative of their own.
On the matter of good governance in Delhi, Sudhanshu Trivedi alleged Kejriwal of "double standards". Trivedi said that on one hand, Kejriwal kept saying throughout the tenure, the Centre did not let him work, and now that the elections are near, he is asking for votes on the basis of work done by his government.
"Kejriwal kept saying that the centre did not let us work for 5 years. Now he is saying ache beete 5 saal. He is asking people to vote for him on the basis of what he has done, either he should not claim that the Centre did not let him work, or he should not ask for votes on the basis of work that he was 'not allowed to do'," Trivedi said. He further added that Kejriwal went back on his promise several times starting from when he said he would not enter politics to take support from Congress and so on.
Standing for AAP, Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh said Sudhanshu Trivedi's party BJP will never debate on issues on the ground in New Delhi and always speak of things that do not matter to the people. "Debate should be on work done in Delhi. BJP talks of everything else but work done in Delhi. AAP has done a lot of work for the residents of Delhi including limited free electricity, better schools, tirath yatra facilities etc," Singh said. He further launched an attack on the BJP by saying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised Rs 15 lakh in his successful run-up to the 2014 elections which have still not been delivered. "BJP promised Rs 15 lakh in 2014, where are the 15 lakh? Country’s economy is struggling, the auto sector is in a mess. Under UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, salt and bread are being served to kids in school," he said.
Congress' Krishna Tirath, who was a minister in the Delhi government under former Chief Minister, Late Ms Sheela Dixit, took a stand of her own in the debate and claimed that the AAP was taking credit for several things done by the Congress in the 15 years it was in power. She also supported the BJP's point that Kejriwal kept shouting in the last 5 years that the Centre is not letting him work and is not asking for votes on the basis of 'progress' made in Delhi.
"I believe that people are the best judge. The work done under Sheela Dixit for 15 years was the best work done in Delhi. AAP is taking advantage of the work that Congress did in Delhi. Especially in schools. Arvind Kejriwal kept shouting that centre did not let him work but now is asking for votes on progress," Tirath said.
On the matter of Shaheen Bagh, Sanjay Singh pulled up the BJP and said that no BJP leader went to the Shaheen Bagh protests and tried to address the concern of the people. He said that the BJP has an obligation to send its leaders to any place where the people are protesting against any policy made by the government. "No BJP leader went to Shaheen bagh to ask the people what their issue is. BJP leaders should go to any place where there is dharna or protest. It is their responsibility as the party in the Centre. If AAP or Congress leaders would go to speak to the protestors, the BJP would accuse them of inciting violence," he said.
"In Delhi elections, the issues should be on ground issues of Delhi and not Hindu Muslim rhetoric," he further added.
In response to this Sudhanshu Trivedi said, "If it was an anti-CAA protest we would have definitely gone and convinced the people but why are they talking of Kashmir and cutting off Assam. These are not CAA issues. I challenge Congress and AAP leaders to tell even a single line in the CAA which takes away citizens from Indians."
To this, the AAP representative replied, "You just want to create a communal environment. When BJP speaks against violence it doesn’t look nice. BJP should not teach us the lessons of peace. BJP has a long history of communal violence."
Congress, distancing itself from the two, took a stand that Delhi elections should not be fought on issues like Shaheen Bagh and that it stands with anyone who is protesting 'within the framework of the Constitution of India'. "The elections should be fought on things that can improve the lifestyle of the residents of Delhi. Delhi elections should not be fought on Shaheen Bagh and anti-CAA protests. Congress will always stand with the people of Delhi whenever they face issues. I am with Shaheen bagh as long as they do everything inside the framework of the constitution of India," the Congress representative said.
As a last word on the issue, the BJP representative said, "Whatever is happening in Shaheen Bagh did not start in Shaheen Bagh it happened at several places. Whys is the word 'Intifada', which stands uprising in Arabic, being used in Shaheen Bagh, why are those protesting at Shaheen Bagh speaking of death warrant against PM Modi?"
Kejriwal-led AAP government in Delhi has turned electricity as one of their MSP in the forthcoming Delhi Elections. The AAP representative at India TV's exclusive event once again spoke at AAP's achievements in Delhi as far as electricity is concerned. He also took a jibe at BJP Delhi President who had earlier on the same stage shown electricity bills of residents of Delhi which contradict the claims made by the Aam Admi Party about 200 units of free electricity in the capital.
"AAP has made breakthrough achievements in Delhi by providing free electricity (up to 200 units) to the residents. The bills shown by Manoj Tiwari would have been printed in the BJP office. 200 units of free electricity will continue for the next 5 years until the AAP is in power in the capital. All of the work done by AAP in Delhi -- Mohalla clinics, medical accidental free treatment, tirth yatra facilities -- will all continue until AAP is in power in the capital, all those who are saying otherwise are lying," Sanjay Singh said.
The issue of demand for full statehood of Delhi was also raised in the debate. To this, the AAP representative replied that the BJP government in the Centre has to provide the full statehood and that the Aam Admi Party has always been demanding that. Sudhanshu Trivedi, coming to the defence of his party, asked, "Tell me one national capital in the world where the law and order are not maintained by the Central government?"
Other usual topics like Pakistan, JNU and Jamia were discussed. The AAP accused the BJP of bringing ISI agents to Pathankot base for investigation, to this the BJP replied that they also bombed Balakot when it was required.