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OPINION | Poll fever in Gujarat, Delhi and UP

BJP has campaigned strongly this time among tribal voters, and its leaders expect that the AAP can cut into Congress vote base in Saurashtra-Kutch region.

Rajat Sharma Written By: Rajat Sharma @RajatSharmaLive New Delhi Updated on: December 01, 2022 18:38 IST
Gujarat assembly election 2022, Delhi MCD polls, Uttar Pradesh by election, Poll fever, PM Modi, UP
Image Source : INDIA TV. OPINION | Poll fever in Gujarat, Delhi and UP.

With moderate to heavy polling going on in 89 assembly constituencies of Gujarat, campaigning is at its peak for the remaining seats of Gujarat with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, UP CM Yogi Adityanath and Home Minister Amit Shah addressing rallies and taking out road shows.

 
At a rally in Panchmahal district, Modi mentioned Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge’s “Ravana’ jibe against him. He said, “I respect Khargeji but he has to follow orders of the party high command. He was compelled to say that Modi has 100 heads like Ravana…Such abusive words are an insult to the people of Gujarat, who have raised me on this land.” Modi said, “There is only one way to teach the Congress a lesson. Vote for BJP by pushing the Lotus button (on EVM). Our Lotus will bloom every time they throw mud at us.”
 
Scheduled tribes and Patidar voters constitute a large chunk in the 89 constituencies spread over 19 districts that went to polling today. In the last elections, BJP had won 48 and the Congress had won 38 seats. Five years ago, Congress had scored well in tribal areas, and the Patidar reservation movement had hurt the BJP badly, but this time, the scene has changed.
 
BJP has campaigned strongly this time among tribal voters, and its leaders expect that the AAP can cut into Congress vote base in Saurashtra-Kutch region. AAP leaders were so desperate in their search for winnable candidates that they gave tickets to candidates with criminal background.
 
Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) in its latest report has said that 330 out of 1,621 candidates in Gujarat have criminals cases filed against them. AAP tops the list with 61 candidates having criminal background. AAP has fielded candidates in 181 seats. It means, one in three AAP candidates has a criminal background. Congress comes next with 61 candidates having criminal background. So, one in three Congress candidates also has a criminal background. There are 32 BJP candidates who have criminal cases filed against them.
 
Out of the 330 candidates having criminal background, 192 have charges of murder, attempt to murder and rape against them. AAP tops the list with 43 such candidates, Congress is second with 28 candidates and BJP has 25 such candidates.
 
Campaigning is also going on for the byelections to some key seats in Uttar Pradesh, where polling will take place on Monday, and for the Delhi Municipal Corporation elections, where voting will take place on Sunday. Several BJP chief ministers and Union ministers are campaigning for the party in Delhi.
 
UTTAR PRADESH:
 
In the western UP assembly constituency of Khatauli, UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath addressed rallies reminding people of how crime was rampant during the previous Samajwadi Party regime. He compared the SP’s ‘mafia raj’ with that of Taliban in Afghanistan.
 
Yogi said, women during those days were afraid of coming out of their homes, girls refrained from attending schools and colleges due to eve teasers, Hindu traders were fleeing and travellers were being robbed, but now, during BJP rule, criminals in this area live in fear. “The law of the land has been fully enforced”, Yogi said. The chief minister reminded how farmers used to be robbed of their cattle and killed by criminals in western UP during SP’s rule.
 
During the UP assembly elections early this year, I remember, the Samajwadi Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal combine were expecting a clean sweep in western UP, but it was on the law and order issue that BJP got the edge and the voters preferred Yogi. Nobody can deny that law and order in UP during Yogi’s rule has improved substantially. Yogi said on Tuesday that if his police had not taken severe action against mafia and criminals, the situation could not have improved.
 
In Mainpuri Lok Sabha byelection, which is taking place after the passing away of SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav has made it a battle of prestige by fielding his wife Dimple Yadav. Akhilesh is reminding voters about the legacy of Mulayam Singh Yadav’s family. In Jaswant Nagar, Akhilesh Yadav and his uncle Shivpal Yadav appeared together at a rally and sought votes for the party. Akhilesh touched his uncle’s feet, while Shivpal Yadav told voters that this by-election is a matter of prestige for the Yadav family.
 
Mainpuri has been a citadel for the Yadav family, and if Akhilesh loses this seat like Azamgarh, it will be big setback for him. His uncle Shivpal Yadav asked voters to address Akhilesh from now on as “Chhotey Netaji”. It was the late Mulayam Singh Yadav who had the honorific ‘Netaji’ title when he was alive.
 
BJP leader and UP deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya reminded voters that it was Akhilesh Yadav who had insulted his uncle Shivpal several months ago. Samajwadi Party leader Ramgopal Yadav, on Tuesday, submitted a memorandum to the Election Commission alleging that names of Muslim voters have been removed from the electoral list in Mainpuri. He demanded removal of the District Collector and Superintendent of Police of Etawah-Mainpuri.
 
Another big battle is taking place in Rampur, where the assembly seat is now vacant after SP leader Azam Khan was sentenced to three years of imprisonment in a hate speech case and he lost his membership.
 
On Wednesday, while addressing a rally, Azam Khan alleged that BJP is making plans to disenfranchise Muslim voters. In a jibe, he said, after the results for Rampur are out on December 8, ‘Abdul (a common Muslim name) will mop the floor for BJP’. He said, “all the contractors and rich Muslims who could not give an account of their properties, left our party and joined BJP. Qureshis, who had 50-50 cases of cow slaughter pending against them, have joined the BJP. All the traitors have left me and now only the loyalists are left.”
 
Azam Khan never dreamed that he or his candidate would lose elections in Rampur, but Yogi ensured that his candidate was defeated in the Rampur Lok Sabha byelection. The present assembly byelection is a matter of prestige for him. Azam Khan is playing the emotional card by reminding voters what he had done for them.
 
DELHI:

Two days are left for electioneering in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi elections. All the parties have brought in their star campaigners. Already BJP president JP Nadda, AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal and other top leaders have taken out several road shows.
 
On Wednesday, several BJP chief ministers Shivraj Chouhan, Pushkar Singh Dhami and Jairam Thakur, and Union ministers Nitin Gadkari, Anurag Thakur, Bhupendra Yadav, Hardip Puri and Jyotiraditya Scindia campaigned. Scindia said, Aam Aadmi Party should now rename itself as ‘ Khas Aadmi Party’ because its minister Satyendar Jain is living a lavish life inside jail. Scindia questioned why he was not being sacked by Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal. 
 
Union Roadways and Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, while addressing an election meeting, said, the Centre had done much for Delhi's development. Better roads and highways are being built to connect the national capital with other cities.
 
Gadkari announced that from January next year, travel from Delhi to Jaipur, Dehradun and Haridwar can be completed in two hours. Travel from Delhi to Chandigarh can be completed in two and a half hours, and to Amritsar in four hours, to Srinagar in eight hours, and to Mumbai in only 12 hours, he said.
 
Union Urban Affairs and Housing Minister Hardip Singh Puri, while addressing a press conference attended by all Delhi BJP MPs, promised that all unauthorized colonies in Delhi will be regularized, and slum dwellers will be given concrete houses.
 
BJP has made the MCD elections interesting by inducting its chief ministers and union ministers. There was a time when nobody imagined that chief ministers and union ministers would address street meetings for Delhi’s municipal elections.
 
This change has been possible due to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It is his unique style and he fights each election with full force. It has left Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal worried. Kejriwal, on Tuesday, asked how many more chief ministers and union ministers will campaign in Delhi. On his part, Kejriwal has deployed all his ministers and Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann to campaign in Delhi.
 
On Wednesday, BJP levelled a fresh charge against AAP. Party spokesperson Sambit Patra alleged that the development plan prepared by Kejriwal for Delhi by creating Mohalla Sabha, was entirely fake. He alleged that Rs 20 crore were given for development work in 12 assembly constituencies, but nobody knows what happened to those funds. He demanded a reply on the fate of missing Rs 20 crore that was disbursed.
 
Kejriwal has now changed tack. A few weeks ago, he was alleging that BJP was buying MLAs in different states by distributing huge amount of cash. But when BJP launched a counter-attack and sought replies from him about scams in his government, Kejriwal said, “I only speak about development, I speak about health and education.”

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