- AAP, BJP ramp up the rhetoric ahead of Assembly polls next month
- Arvind Kejriwal will contest from the New Delhi seat for a third time
- Results for the Delhi elections will be declared on February 11
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and BJP MP Manoj Tiwari launched into an early morning war of words on Twitter today, as the ruling AAP and the opposition BJP ramp up the rhetoric ahead of Assembly polls next month. Responding to Mr Kejriwal's tweet about the opposition targeting him rather than serving the people, the Delhi BJP chief sought to undermine progress claimed by the AAP government over the past five years.
"One side - broken roads, dirty poison water, not a new school, not a new hospital, operation theaters closed in hospitals, not a single electric bus, all the fighters of corruption were removed from the party... on the other hand, the development of all with the BJP," Manoj Tiwari tweeted.
Less than 30 minutes earlier Arvind Kejriwal had tweeted: "On one hand - BJP, JD(U), LJP, JJP, Congress, RJD On the other hand - school, hospital, water, electricity, free women travel, public of Delhi is my aim - to defeat corruption and take Delhi forward, they all aim - to defeat me".
Mr Kejriwal, who will contest from the New Delhi seat for a third time, released a 10-point "guarantee" card to voters on Sunday that promises, among other things, free power, 24-hour drinking water on tap and a world-class education to every child.
Education and cheap and reliable electricity and utilities have been among the AAP's most popular promises in recent elections; the party believes the measures helped it gain grassroots-level support.
The BJP, however, has been fiercely critical, with first-time MP Gautam Gambhir claiming freebies, over time, lose their value for people and it was better to charge them for it. Meanwhile Mr Tiwari claimed the BJP would offer "five times more" if it came to power.
Mr Kejriwal and the BJP have also sparred frequently over infrastructure and facilities for Delhi citizens, with the latter fiercely critical of plans like free rides for women and reports last year that the 2,000-bed Lok Nayak Hospital was to shut operation theatres because of a lack of funds.
Earlier this month Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who is also Education Minister, accused the BJP's Dr Harsh Vardhan, the Union Health Minister, of trying to diminish the "remarkable transformation" of government schools.
The parties also clashed in November over a report that said drinking water in Delhi was "poisonous". Mr Kejriwal lashed out, calling the report "politically motivated" and noting that it came just months before elections.
In the run-up to next month's polls the AAP has also repeatedly mentioned that the BJP had delayed announcing a candidate contest against Mr Kejriwal. The BJP released a first list of candidates last week, after the AAP revealed all 70 of its candidates, but it did not name one for the New Delhi seat.
This morning the BJP released a second list and pit electoral debutant Sunil Yadav against Mr Kejriwal.
Assembly elections in Delhi are scheduled for February 8, with Chief Minister Kejriwal and his AAP (Aam Aadmi Party) bidding for re-election; the party romped to power in 2015 polls by winning 67 of 70 seats and the BJP won the rest.
Results for the Delhi elections will be declared on February 11.