No poll date but campaigns on

No poll date but campaigns on

Parties in capital make best use of time in absence of election code

Among the unique features of the ensuing Assembly polls is the hectic pace of campaign in the city even before the announcement of the voting day.

All three players – the BJP, Congress and the AAP – have put up hoardings and are holding public meetings to spread their reach and make the best use of the absence of an election code for the city’s first ever mid-term Assembly poll in February.

The BJP’s hoardings and billboards at bus queue shelters show images of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and talk of cheaper vegetables and lower petrol prices.

The Aam Aadmi Party’s campaign focuses on the punch line “Paanch Saal Kejriwal (five-year term for AAP chief ministerial face Arvind Kejriwal)” and “Pehle bhi Kiya, phir Karenge” (50 per cent cut in power and water bills).”

The AAP has also floated a new set of Gandhi caps for supporters with “Mein hun Aaam Aadmi” (I am a common man) in black paint and “Kejriwal phir se” (Kejriwal once again) in red paint printed on them.

The biggest surprise in these polls has come from the Congress, which has broken from its tradition of late launch of campaign and announcement of candidates’ names.

Grand old party’s move
The grand old party has put up hoardings repeating its old punch line ‘Haath jo jode, tode nahin’. The party’s hoardings on bus stands ask the question: Do you know who brought the Metro to Delhi?

“We are trying new things,” said Delhi Congress chief Arvinder Singh, admitting that the public response on the party’s social media handles was also good.
The BJP and the AAP have also locked horns over occupying ad space behind autorickshaws.

Delhi BJP chief Satish Upadhyay denied that his party was copying the AAP’s style of autorickshaw ad campaign. “We have been approached by unions of autorickshaw drivers who have volunteered to replace AAP posters with that of Modi,” he said.

The BJP autorickshaw ads exhort voters to give a clear majority to the party and march with Modi.

The AAP has been using autorickshaws for ads asking people to pick their next chief minister from among Kejriwal and former BJP legislator Jagdish Mukhi. 

In Malviya Nagar constituency, former AAP legislator Somnath Bharti has already hired a fleet of autorickshaws – fitted with loudspeakers – to run the party’s new election song “Panch saal Kejriwal”.

“The speakers on the vehicles start blaring at 9 am and fall silent in the evening,” said a businessman who lives close to Bharti’s office-cum-residence in south Delhi.

Posters of Arvind Kejriwal have also sprung up on park boundary walls in many colonies.
“There is no check on defacement. Also there is no fear of keeping an account of the expense on posters at this stage,” said Gulshan Kumar, a resident of Khirki Extension colony in south Delhi, complaining about the posters.

The Congress has already scored over rivals by pressing into service its star campaigners.

Actor Raj Babbar started campaigning on December 25 last year for the party in Uttam Nagar from where Mukesh Sharma is the candidate.

While Kejriwal and beauty queen, actress Gul Panag will be the star campaigners of the AAP, the Delhi BJP will rely on Modi’s charisma and plans to launch a series of his rallies starting from January 10 at Ramlila Maidan.

Delhi BJP’s celebrity campaigners may also include actors Hema Malini, Shatrughan Sinha, Vinod Khanna and Smriti Irani.