BJP’s star-studded finale dominates last day; AAP, Congress take it easy : The Tribune India

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BJP’s star-studded finale dominates last day; AAP, Congress take it easy

BJP’s star-studded finale dominates last day; AAP, Congress take it easy

Union Minister Piyush Goyal (R) and actor Bhagyashree with BJP’s Kamaljeet Sehrawat. Tribune photo



Tribune News Service

Anshita Mehra

New Delhi, May 23

As the curtains fell on canvassing for the seven parliamentary seats in the Capital on Thursday, BJP candidates hit top gear, contrasting sharply with the subdued efforts of their rivals. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s conspicuous absence and Congress’s muted campaign brought into focus the diverging strategies of the major parties.

Congress supporters during Rahul Gandhi’s rally. Manas Ranjan Bhui

The AAP chief was absent from the day’s activities, a surprising move given the high stakes. Kejriwal cancelled his scheduled roadshow at the last minute, choosing to spend the day at his Civil Lines residence with his parents, where Delhi Police were earlier expected to come; the entire top brass was also at the CM’s residence in a show of solidarity and support.

Although his absence left the AAP candidates to fend for themselves, Mahabal Mishra, AAP’s West Delhi candidate, found himself without his party leader but was accompanied by Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot instead. East Delhi candidate Kuldeep Kumar and New Delhi candidate Somnath Bharti ended up campaigning solo, while South Delhi’s Sahi Ram was nowhere to be seen.

In contrast, the BJP’s campaign finale was nothing short of a spectacle. Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Smriti Irani and Piyush Goyal, alongside Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami, Rajasthan Chief Minister Bhajan Lal Sharma, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Delhi BJP chief Virendra Sachdeva, were all on the ground. They tirelessly accompanied the candidates from early morning until the final moments before the campaign deadline.

Adding star power, Bollywood actress Bhagyashree and popular TV star Rupali Ganguly, who recently joined BJP, brought a glamorous touch to the day’s events. Bhagyashree was present at the roadshow of West Delhi candidate Kamaljeet Sehrawat. All other BJP candidates, including New Delhi’s Bansuri Swaraj, North East’s Manoj Tiwari, Chandni Chowk’s Praveen Khandelwal, South Delhi’s Ramvir Singh Bidhuri and East Delhi’s Harsh Malhotra were accompanied by one or the other senior leader as they campaigned throughout the day.

Ganguly joined North West Delhi candidate Yogender Chandolia’s roadshow. Hours prior, she shared her journey to Delhi on Instagram stories. She also posted a story of the BJP lotus and an Indian map with the caption “Jai Hind”, creating a buzz among her followers. This high-energy finish by the BJP, marked by senior leaders and celebrity endorsements, set a dynamic tone for the last day of campaigning.

On the other hand, the Congress chose to conclude their campaign on a quieter note. Their star campaigner, Rahul Gandhi, held two town halls, addressing supporters in North East Delhi for Kanhaiya Kumar and North West Delhi for Udit Raj. While Delhi Congress chief Devender Yadav, along with INDIA bloc cadre, campaigned for Chandni Chowk candidate JP Agrawal. Despite their efforts, the overall energy and visibility of their campaign paled in comparison to the BJP’s high-energy finale.

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