NEW DELHI

Political temperature shoots up in Capital

NEW DELHI SEPT. 6. The stakes certainly are high and the political leaders seem desperate. Issues of development, problems faced by the common man and social commitments have taken a backseat and it is back to sleaze, mudslinging and character assassination. With the political temperature in the Capital hotting up as the time approaches for the Delhi Assembly elections, the scenario is likely to get worse in the coming days.

Political observers here are of the view that the Bharatiya Janata Party in a bid to revive the morale of its cadres and rattle the Congress and the Sheila Dikshit Government in Delhi has unleashed a series of charges in the hope that some of them might stick and find acceptance among the electorate. The BJP aim is to put the Chief Minister, Sheila Dikshit, in the dock and tarnish her image in the eyes of the common man. ``It is Ms. Dikshit and the reputation she has built up over the past five years of its rule in Delhi that is posing a threat to the BJP. No major scam has hit her Government and she as well as her administration continues to have a positive image in the eyes of Delhiiites. The idea now is to hit out and show her in poor light in order to put the Congress and its campaign on the defensive,'' remarked a senior BJP leader.

The recent tirade launched by the Delhi BJP president, Madan Lal Khurana, shows signs of increased desperation and frustration rather than anything else. Interestingly, it has been almost over a year now since Mr. Khurana has been crying himself hoarse over the privatisation of erstwhile Delhi Vidyut Board and alleging a big scam. But till date Mr. Khurana has not been able to come out with any evidence to substantiate his claims. In fact, Mr. Khurana has developed the tendency to jump from one allegation to another without caring to prove his previous charges with facts and figures. It is common knowledge that power reforms in Delhi had the full backing of the BJP-led Central Government. The Central Vigilance Commission had scrutinised the whole disinvestment process and given a go ahead to the Delhi Government.

The Union Disinvestment Minister, Arun Shourie, had also seen the presentation and given the nod. The then Union Power Minister, Suresh Prabhu, had gone on record appreciating the reforms undertaken by the Delhi Government and had even walked down to the Delhi Secretariat at Players Building to laud the role of the Congress Government. The Union Power Minister, Anant Geethe, had given the outstanding power award for 2002 to the Delhi Government last year, indicating the reforms had the clearance as well as backing of the Central Government. The fact that the Union Government had not raised any objections to the mode of privatisation and the payments made to the discoms is a clear indicator that Mr. Khurana had failed to motivate his own Government to order a probe into the power reforms process in Delhi.

``If some wrong had been committed, it is up to the Central Government to probe that. Instead, our reforms have been lauded by one and all and it includes the Vajpayee Government. We will not stoop to such a level for petty political gains and it is better that issues on development are debated rather than indulge in such slanderous campaign and hurling frivolous charges,'' remarked Ms. Dikshit. However, Mr. Khurana is undeterred and has announced that he would come out with more such `scams' in the coming days to expose the Sheila Dikshit Government. And for Delhiiites, the dirty politics are going to spill out on to the streets and get murkier in the coming days.

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