With 4.1 lakh voters, constituency has largest electorate.
New Delhi: Southwest Delhi’s Matiala — which has the largest electorate of 4.1 lakh voters — became the venue of a big fight on Thursday as both Union home minister Amit Shah and chief minister Arvind Kejriwal vied for voters’ attention with separate programmes.
The day started with a roadshow of the chief minister, in which he highlighted the development works of his government, and ended with a public meeting addressed by Mr Shah, which focused mainly on the “non-performance” of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) regime and national issues concerning the country.
Delhi votes on February 8, in which Mr Kejriwal is seeking a second term. His AAP — which won a record victory last time, capturing 67 of the city’s 70 seats — is targeting all 70 seats this time.
BJP had been able to retain just three seats in the 2015 Assembly polls.
By mid-day, the narrow streets of Matiala turned into a human sea as the procession began. A large number of young people also participated in the roadshow. Matiala has the highest number of first-time voters — 7,184.
During his public meeting, Mr Shah defended the Central government over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and condemned Delhi deputy CM Manish Sisodia over his statement in favour of the Shaheen Bagh protest. Hundreds of people have been protesting against the CAA for the past 38 days in Shaheen Bagh.
Speaking on the JNU row, Mr Shah said that anti-India slogans were raised in the campus. “(Prime Minister) Narendra Modi jailed them. And Kejriwal, wearing his muffler, reached there to question why they (students) were arrested. (Congress leader) Rahul (Gandhi) baba followed him…. You can hurl 100 abuses at me and my party. But if one talks about dividing the country, he will be put behind the bars.”
Attacking former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Mr Shah said: “Rahul baba and company was ready. They had immediately objected and said not to abrogate Article 370 as there will be bloodshed. This is Modi govt, not a single bullet was fired and now Jammu and Kashmir has become an integral part of India.”
The home minister said the work on building a sky-touching Ram Mandir will begin in Ayodhya in the next four months. “For 4.5 years Kejriwal ji kept saying that Modi ji didn’t let him work, so development work could not be done in Delhi. Now he says that he developed Delhi in five years, so ‘lage raho Kejriwal’.”
On the other hand, Mr Kejriwal, atop an open yellow coloured jeep, waved to the public and shook hands with them as his roadshow moved through the narrow lanes of Matiala. He was accompanied by Matiala MLA Gulab Singh Yadav.