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Vote-split spectre worries BJP
Sheila holds fort alone on Delhi dais

New Delhi, Dec. 2: On the last day of campaigning in Delhi, the BJP targeted the Aam Aadmi Party more than the Congress, betraying its nervousness about a possible split in anti-government votes.

Congress chief minister Dikshit, however, attacked the main rival, reeling off statistics in a last-ditch attempt to compare Delhi with Gujarat. She repeated the manifesto promise of more “jobs and prosperity for Delhi”.

Several bigwigs graced the stage at the main BJP rally but Dikshit held fort alone on the Congress dais.

At the BJP meeting, chief ministerial candidate Harshvardhan was accompanied by the leaders of the Opposition from both Houses of Parliament, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, as well as their counterpart in the Delhi Assembly, Vijay Kumar Malhotra. Party spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi and Delhi BJP chief Vijay Goel completed the line-up.

Attacking the Aam Aadmi Party of Arvind Kejriwal, Sushma said the “virodh ka vote” (protest vote) would not be divided — the people would not want to waste their vote.

“When voters make up their mind to defeat someone, they also make up their mind to hand over victory to someone (else),” she said.

Swaraj said the Aam Aadmi Party was daydreaming when it said it would win 47 of the state’s 70 seats.

Jaitley said the Aam Aadmi Party had a bigger presence in the media than on the ground. He claimed “the loser is now known” and that the Congress had “given up”.

Almost sounding sympathetic towards the Congress MLAs, Jaitley said each of them was fighting their own battle because their party was not making a collective effort.

“In politics, you never lose till you have given up, and the Congress gave up two weeks ago. It seems (the Congress) national leadership has abandoned the Delhi elections,” he quipped.

Malhotra said that after one rally each by Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi (Rahul has actually held a couple of meetings), no other central Congress leader had campaigned for the Delhi unit.

Rahul’s November 24 rally had drawn a thin and listless crowd. Congress chief spokesperson Ajay Maken has confined himself to two rallies, both in his own parliamentary constituency.

Left to fend for herself, Dikshit came armed with a ten-page document today to highlight her “promises for the future” and draw a statistical comparison between Delhi and Gujarat.

Even her cabinet colleagues Haroon Yusuf, Rajkumar Chauhan and Arvinder Singh Lovely, who are usually by her side, were missing.

“A few politicians who come from outside, particularly one leader, claims that Delhi has been mal-administered. If that was the case, why were we elected thrice?” Dikshit said.

She claimed to have won all the three elections on the plank of “good governance” and said it remained the plank this time too.

Asked if it wasn’t too late in the day to target Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, she said: “I have been repeating this for the past three months; it’s just that everyone chose to ignore it.”

Dikshit propped up one Shiv Kumar Tiwari, an Independent contesting from the chief minister’s constituency, New Delhi. “When I went around in New Delhi to canvass for myself, I saw the progress and therefore I am surrendering,” Tiwari said.

His change of heart apparently came after the last day for withdrawing nominations, but he claims to have refrained from electioneering.