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Published On: Wed, Feb 5th, 2020

‘Name CM face by 1 pm tomorrow, I’m ready for debate,’ Kejriwal dares BJP

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15377626405ba86550742c3NEW DELHI : Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday challenged the Bharatiya Janata Party to name its chief ministerial candidate for the city-state by 1 pm on Wednesday. He said he was ready to debate with that person, reported NDTV.
Kejriwal said that by withholding the name of the party’s chief ministerial candidate, former BJP President Amit Shah was demanding a “blank cheque” from the people of Delhi. Delhi will go to polls on February 8.
“Amit Shah says that he will name the chief minister candidate once he gets Delhi’s mandate,” Kejriwal said while releasing the manifesto of the Aam Aadmi Party. “But the people of Delhi want to know now who would be their chief minister if they vote for the BJP. What if Amit Shah names someone uneducated and incompetent? That would be a betrayal of the people of Delhi.”
Kejriwal has time and again asked the BJP to name itsCM candidate. On New Year, he tweeted a Happy New Year wish to the “7 Chief Minister candidates of Delhi BJP”. It was accompanied by a large banner featuring BJP Delhi leaders Manoj Tiwari, Gautam Gambhir, Vijay Goel, Hardeep Singh Puri, Harsh Vardhan, Vijender Gupta and Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma.
In several state elections in recent times, the saffron party has avoided naming a chief ministerial candidate and instead sought votes in the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

While, Amit Shah — tagged the Chanakya of modern day Indian politics and the all-powerful leader of the BJP — has been knocking on every door over the last 20 days, seeking the mandate of Delhi. That image, around 240 MPs and 70 union ministers which the party has pushed into the campaign for Saturday’s assembly polls, is seen to indicate the priority the BJP has given to the election.

Going door-to door as a home minister is a first for Mr Shah, the architect of the BJP’s massive victory in the 2014 national election. But months later, the party’s big campaign for Delhi fell flat, with Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party capturing 67 of Delhi’s 70 assembly seats. The BJP ended up with just three seats in what came as a shock defeat. What followed was five years of continuous friction with the Arvind Kejriwal government.
Five years on, the party appears determined to win the rematch. Senior party leaders say they have a good chance in view of the results of last year’s parliamentary election – winning all seven seats in Delhi.
But with the results in 2014 being similar, the party has pulled all stops, holding an unprecedented 5,000 rallies over 20 days and drawing up a list of 40 star campaigners to take on Arvind Kejriwal. The leaders were instructed to focus on small groups in what the party called “nukkad (street corner) meetings” – typically gatherings of 200 or 300 people. The party planned 10,000 small meetings over the 20-day period.
The shift in strategy – from mega rallies to street corner meetings – came after the success of the party’s grassroots contact programme. The BJP, however, played down the extra effort it is putting in.

Asked about the matter, the BJP’s Manoj Tiwari told NDTV today: “We in the BJP do not take any election lightly, or for granted. From your angle, someone is a Prime Minister and someone is a home minister. But to us, everyone in the BJP is a karyakarta”.

The MPs, who are expected to visit the slum clusters of the capital and spend nights there, were roped in as they were “in Delhi anyway for parliament”, Mr Tiwari said. “They will spend time with the JJ colony residents and eat meals with them,” he added.

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