Press Trust of india

Campaigning for Delhi elections ends

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New Delhi, Feb 6:  Marked by the BJP aggressively pushing the anti-CAA protests in Shaheen Bagh as a poll issue, the AAP hard selling development and the Congress conspicuous by its near absence, the bitter, often divisive campaign for the Delhi elections ended on Thursday.

In their final electioneering push, the three key parties made last ditch efforts to seek votes and slugged it out over issues ranging from the amended citizenship law, appeasement politics and unemployment.

The campaign ended at 6 pm on Thursday, ahead of voting on Saturday.

On the last day of the campaign, Union Home Minister Amit Shah took out three road shows at Seelampur in northeast Delhi, and Hari Nagar and Madipur in west Delhi.

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia took out a ‘padayatra’ in his Patparganj constituency in east Delhi.

The BJP, which started the campaign with a focus on the development work done by the Centre for the national capital, took a sharp turn and made Shaheen Bagh, the epicentre of anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protest in southeast Delhi, its main poll plank.

The saffron party’s campaign saw Prime Minister Narendra Modi address two rallies while Home Minister Amit Shah addressed many more. BJP President J P Nadda and Yogi Adityanath were also in full throttle over the Shaheen Bagh protest.

Apart from its MPs and MLAs, the BJP also roped in chief ministers of party-ruled states — Vijay Rupani (Gujarat), Yogi Adityanath (Uttar Pradesh), N Biren Singh (Manipur), M L Khattar (Haryana) — to canvass for its candidates.

The campaign got bitter when Union Minister Anurag Thakur, in a rally, egged the crowd to say ‘shoot the traitors’, and the party’s West Delhi MP Parvesh Verma made a controversial statement on Shaheen Bagh.

Both Thakur and Verma were banned from campaigning for 72 and 96 hours respectively and also dropped from the party’s star campaigner’s list.

On Wednesday, Verma was barred from campaigning for a second time.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal led the campaign for the Aam Aadmi Party. He however, focussed on road shows and public meetings rather than rallies.

The AAP held silent marches against the BJP in all 70 constituencies in Delhi for three days to protest against the “terrorist” remarks made by Verma.

The party also launched a door-to-door initiative, urging voters to back Kejriwal if they believed he is “a son of Delhi” and vote for the BJP if they feel he is a “terrorist”.

The Congress’ campaign did not match the vigour of its opponents.

However, as polling day drew closer, the party jumped into action with former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh addressing a rally in Rajouri Garden on Tuesday while Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra addressed public meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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