Prime Minister Narendra Modi today kicked off Bharatiya Janata Party’s fierce campaign for the Delhi assembly election at a mega rally at the capital’s packed Ramlila Maidan, attacking main opponent Arvind Kejriwal and promising good governance if elected.
The jibe at Kejriwal, from the Aam Aadmi Party, was not lost to the crowd. “Some politician says he is 'anarchist', such people should go to jungle and join naxals”, Modi said without directly naming Kejriwal. Kejriwal had said he's an anarchist during a protest last year against the union Home Ministry.
During the 30-minute address, he suggested that Kejriwal has "mastery" in "lies" and dharnas and protests and should be given that role only and that power should be given to BJP which has "mastery" in administration. At the rally at Ramlila Ground attended by all three new BJP Chief Ministers of Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand, Modi sought a clear mandate for his party to ensure allround development and create a "new" Delhi, PTI reported.
Promising to take Delhi to new heights of development, the Prime Minister said people here will be given an option of choosing their power service provider on the lines of mobile number portability and pledged to make Delhi slum-free by 2022. He also promised to usher in a corruption-free system, saying it has been started at the top and gradually it will reach down to colonies.
Apparently referring to resignation by Kejriwal government on February 14 last year after being in power for 49 days, he said, "people should punish those because of whom one year of Delhi was wasted."
"Trust me, I will clean up the system. I have started from the top and I will take it to the bottom. People take money from auto drivers, shopkeeper, the poor people...It will all stop," the Prime Minister said.
Reaching out to the vast slum population, he promised to replace the slums with concrete houses by 2022, saying "your dream is my dream." He said steps have already been initiated in this regard by the Urban Development Ministry.
While talking about schemes benefitting the poor, he referred to Jan Dhan and said bankers, who earlier used to be reluctant to open accounts of the people from lower economic strata, are now going house-to-house to open zero-balance accounts.
"So far 11 crore accounts have been opened as against the target of 7 crore by January 26," he said adding though people had an option of opening zero-balance accounts, Rs 8,500 crore were deposited by them. In Delhi alone, 19.50 lakh accounts were opened under the scheme," he said.
Taking a dig at the Congress over its claim of standing by the poor, he said "who was running government for the rich and who is running government for the poor has been proved by the Jan Dhan scheme."
Promising 24 hour power supply to Delhi, Modi said he will rid the city of generators which will also ensure a cleaner environment. "We will shut the voice of generators in Delhi. It will also help clean up the air by reducing poisonous gases."
He said BJP was all set to take some "revolutionary steps" in Delhi which no one can even think of and talked about portability of choosing power service providers on the line of mobile number portability.
Assuring to end water woes in Delhi, he said BJP-ruled Haryana has promised to provide more water to Delhi after Central intervention.
He also hailed people of Jammu and Kashmir for coming out in large numbers and defeat the separatist forces.
Modi termed Amit Shah as the "most successful" party president as under his leadership party has achieved unprecedented success in various states.
Although Modi did not mention the black money issue, a major campaign point for the BJP during the Lok Sabha elections, in his speech, party president Amit Shah earlier today said the government has taken a number of steps and disclosed 700 names to the SIT even though it is a "complex" issue with international treaties coming in the way of acting against offenders, the PTI reported.
"Bringing back black money is a very complex issue.It is not alone in the hands of India to bring back black money stashed abroad, as several international treaties are coming in the way.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi has created an atmosphere on the black money issue across the world and created a consensus among various nations to act on the menace. I assure you that once the international treaties are sorted out, BJP will succeed in giving appropriate punishment to offenders," Shah said at the rally.
Modi promised to make Delhi the first state where the consumer will have the choice to get electricity from various companies and promised uninterrupted power supply. He said the competition would also bring down tariffs, as had happened in the telecom sector, according to NDTV.
Today's rally gave a fair picture of the upcoming days of pitched battle between the Aam Aadmi Party and the BJP. "Punish those who left you behind, who abandoned you. Those who want to sleep on footpaths, sleep there, protest... they should be given those jobs. We are proficient in running a government and therefore choose the right people for the right jobs," Modi said.
A smarting AAP were quick to react to Modi's jibe. AAP's senior leader Yogendra Yadav retorted: "We completely agree with the Prime Minister, those who are adept at giving speeches, should stick to a job they know." AAP's Manish Sisodia told Times Now the BJP has not met any of its poll promise.
Kejriwal took oath as Delhi chief minister in February last year but quit in less than two months to contest the Lok Sabha elections against Modi from Varanasi. Modi was careful to stay away from addressing the issue of Delhi's statehood.
Kejriwal yesterday asked Modi whether he would announce full statehood for Delhi at his first poll rally. "Tomorrow Modi ji addresses Delhi. He had promised full statehood for Delhi. Will he announce that tomorrow? Or will BJP do a U-turn on this issue also," Kejriwal tweeted.
In the run up to the Lok Sabha elections last year, Modi had promised to grant full statehood to Delhi after coming to power. The promise was also a part of manifesto of the Delhi BJP in the 2013 assembly polls.
Delhi became a state in 1992 under the system of diarchy where the elected government is given wide powers, except law and order, which remains with the central government.
Elections are expected in Delhi mid-February, NDTV reported, quoting sources. Delhi has been under President's Rule ever since Kejriwal quit as chief minister.
The BJP claimed almost one lakh people attended the rally.