Ahead of Delhi civic polls, a battle of perception between AAP and BJP

In the high-voltage campaign for MCD polls, AAP has focused on landfills and municipality’s poor finances to prove BJP corrupt, while the latter has highlighted leaked videos of Satyendar Jain and alleged irregularities in Delhi govt.’s now-scrapped excise policy to brand the former as dishonest

Updated - November 28, 2022 06:01 pm IST

Published - November 28, 2022 01:48 am IST - NEW DELHI:

BJP president J.P. Nadda has attacked Delhi government over the leaked videos of AAP’s jailed Minister Satyendar Jain, saying people in Delhi could ‘get massages even in jail’.

BJP president J.P. Nadda has attacked Delhi government over the leaked videos of AAP’s jailed Minister Satyendar Jain, saying people in Delhi could ‘get massages even in jail’. | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal set the template for his party’s civic poll campaign when, during his visit to the Ghazipur landfill on October 27, he said, “This is not a mountain of garbage, this is a mountain of their evil deeds; this is a mountain of their [BJP’s] corruption.”

In response, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders have repeatedly highlighted the purported videos of AAP’s jailed Minister Satyendar Jain getting massaged in Tihar jail. At a public event held here on Friday, BJP president J.P. Nadda said the Delhi government had improved health facilities in the city to the extent that people could “get massages even in jail”.

Perception battle

In the high-stakes Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) polls, to be held less than a week from now, the BJP and AAP are engaged in a war of images to brand the other corrupt, said professor Sanjay Kumar, director, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS). “Petty charges of corruption do not become an election issue in India. In this case, the allegations are about creating a public perception,” he added.

“One government has money for everything and the other does not even have money to pay its employees. So, it is clear to the people which government is corrupt. We have money because we are running the government honestly. So, the allegations won’t affect AAP,” said senior AAP leader Atishi.

Durgesh Pathak AAP’s MCD in-charge said, “The BJP has created three mountains of garbage. It is not an allegation but the truth. You can see it for yourself. There is garbage in every lane in the city. This is also not an allegation but a fact.”

In response, Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta said AAP’s former Health Ministers of Punjab and Delhi are currently behind bars. “What else do you want as proof? We are telling people this to show how corrupt they [AAP] are,” Mr. Gupta said.

Explaining how the BJP’s allegations, and not those levelled by AAP, will stick, Mr. Gupta said, “They [AAP] have not been able to substantiate their allegations with proofs, which is why investigating agencies have not taken any action against us”.

War of words

On Friday, the two parties lashed out at each other over the issue of alleged irregularities in the Delhi government’s now-scrapped excise policy, which has been at the heart of a long-running war of words between AAP and BJP, after it turned out that the chargesheet filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation in the Delhi excise policy case did not name Mr. Sisodia as an accused. The CM called the scam “fake” and an attempt to frame his deputy, while Mr. Sisodia demanded action against the Lieutenant-Governer and the Chief Secretary for creating “false reports” about the now-withdrawn liquor policy. In response, the Delhi BJP asked the Deputy CM not to rush to give himself a “clean chit”.

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