MCD Election 2017: Amit Shah Unwell, Smriti Irani Campaigns In Delhi

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MCD Election 2017: Amit Shah Unwell, Smriti Irani Campaigns In Delhi

MCD Elections 2017: BJP leader Smriti Irani is campaigning in Delhi ahead of civic polls in the state.

New Delhi: 

Highlights

  1. Elections for municipal corporations for Delhi
  2. Will be used to gauge Chief Minister Kejriwal's popularity
  3. BJP uses top union ministers, they say "count on PM Modi"
Like other elections of recent vintage, the BJP is handling Sunday's vote in Delhi with political precision: a parade of some of its biggest names, and careful recruiting of power players from its rivals. So as seniors like Uma Bharti and Smriti Irani campaign in the different precincts of the capital, former ministers like Arvinder Singh Lovely formerly of the Congress have been organized in the BJP fold before Sunday's election for three municipal corporations.

The result will be used as a spot-check of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, whose Aam Aadmi Party won the last state election in 2015 so dramatically that it lost just three seats, all to the BJP. However, a recent by-election just weeks ago saw the party plunge to third position; the BJP won the seat.

Today, patriotic songs beat through the air in Dwarka as thousands of BJP workers and local voters gathered at a major intersection for an appearance by party president Amit Shah. A last-minute cancellation for health reasons saw Mr Shah being deftly replaced with Union Minister Smriti Irani.

"Kejriwal's AAP and Congress will be wiped clean in this election...You show faith in (PM) Modi and he will take care of your... roads, houses and schools," said Ms Irani.

The BJP's off-the-charts victory in Uttar Pradesh last month is also a favourite reference - not just by leaders in their speeches, but by party supporters like Ravikant Chaturvedi, a 34-year-old who ensured 200 people joined him at Ms Irani's rally.

"See, the Modi magic was always there...Now, after Yogi's appointment, there is just no stopping us, no power can stop us from winning this election," he said.

The BJP has controlled all the three municipal corporations, which will be elected on Sunday, for 10 years.

Another volunteer at the rally, Yasin Khan, has been associated with the party for 15 years. While the BJP's opponents, including Muslim leaders, have attacked the BJP for pushing for tougher implementation of a ban on beef, a crackdown on slaughterhouses, and the recent attack by cow vigilantes in Rajasthan that led to the death of a dairy farmer transporting cattle in a truck in Rajasthan, Yasin Khan says what has impressed him is the decision by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to waive loans for farmers in Uttar Pradesh - a write-off that amounts to about $5.6 billion.

Mr Kejriwal and his senior ministers including Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia have, in their speeches, asked voters to allow them to govern local corporations, without which, they say, they cannot improve basic services like garbage collection.

The Congress too has been campaigning hard with senior leaders like P Chidambaram and Jairam Ramesh holding talks with Delhi residents.

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