In an embarrassing turn of events, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday (April 1) was greeted by chants of "Modi Modi" at two rallies in New Delhi.
In his first rally in northeast Delhi's Ghonda area, a section of the crowd began chanting the prime minister's name when Kejriwal was spelling out what his party planned to do for Delhi if his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) won the Municipal Corporation of Delhi elections scheduled for April 23.
And what is worse for the AAP is that it was not a one-off case. The Delhi CM's second rally at Ambedkar Nagar's Gautam Vihar Chowk in South Delhi area also witnessed a group of youth doing the same.
New BJP trick?
Is this how BJP has planned to edge out Kejriwal before the civic body polls that are no less than a prestige battle for both sides? With the AAP pushing to win the three corporations that are currently controlled by the BJP, such disruptions could be seen as yet another attempt by the BJP to hamper the AAP's efforts — the first being the Delhi Lieutenant Governor (L-G) Anil Baijal's order on recovering Rs 97 crore from the Kejriwal government for splurging the money on government advertisements that also featured Delhi Chief Minister.
With Baijal being seen as the 'new Najeeb Jung' in the tussle between Modi and Kejriwal, the fine is likely to limit AAP's advertisement expenditure, helping the BJP in the process.
However, Kejriwal did not shy away on hearing the name of his political adversary being chanted at his rallies. In response to what he heard, Kejriwal said, "Ask them if chanting Modi's name can waive off the house tax for you, even I am ready to chant PM's name if this happens."
As the crowd continued the Modi chant, Kejriwal lashed back, "Lekin isse aapka pet nahi bharega (But it won't satiate your hunger). Few people have turned mad."
He also reiterated the allegation he had made on Friday (March 31) at his first poll rally — the BJP and the Congress were "conspiring" to take over the departments of water and power to effect a tariff hike in these areas.
The promises Kejriwal made
Besides promising to make Delhi sparkling clean within a year, Kejriwal assured to shore up the revenues of the cash-strapped corporations that have faced a series of strikes by sanitation workers over non-payment of salaries.
The AAP government has also planned to slash the power tariff by half and provide free water. They have also assured reforms in education and health.
For the BJP, the upcoming MCD polls are not just about protecting its bastions but also to avebge the humiliating loss it faced against the AAP in the 2015 Assembly elections.