Week to go for Delhi Assy polls but campaign yet to gather steam

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New Delhi, Nov 23 (UNI) The elections to the Delhi Legislative Assembly are less than a week away but campaigning is yet to gather full steam.

With the Delhi Election Commission showing full strictness in enforcing the model code of conduct, the electioneering for 70 seats of the Delhi Assembly that are to go to the polls on November 29 has till now been rather lacklustre.

The feverish activity by activists of the various political parties -- posters and hoardings in favour of their candidates dotting the city and loudspeakers blaring the slogans of the parties -- are conspicuous by their absence till now.

The reason perhaps lies in the fact that the Delhi Election Commission has been quick in clamping down on any activity that it perceives to be a violation of the election model code of conduct.

In fact, last week, the Delhi election Commission suspended a SHO in Uttam Nagar for dereliction of duty during a rally by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit to campaign for the Congress candidate in the area.

More recently, a rally by BJP President Rajnath Singh at Malviya Nagar had to be cut short due to it being held after the 2200 hrs deadline by the Election Commission.

The Delhi Election Commission has in the past few days sent showcause notice to several leaders of the Congress and the BJP for violation of the model code of conduct.

If the stick of the Election Commission was not enough, various political parties have been facing problems gathering crowds for the rallies of their star campaigners. For example, a public meeting in Munirka in south Delhi by Congress star campaigner Raj Babbar to campaign for party nominee from the area drew a lacklustre response from the general public.

In fact, in many areas, the poll managers of the two parties have been putting up chairs on the venues of the public meetings instead of 'durries' to avoid embarrassment in case of low turnout by the public.

No wonder then, despite all talk of the parties roping in their respective star campaigner in the electioneering, their presence till now has not been seen in a big way.

However, the coming week may witness the campaign picking up with the Congress and the BJP fielding its star campaigners in the electioneering.

While the Congress president Sonia Gandhi will address a rally today at Mangol Puri to campaign for party candidate from the area and Delhi Cabinet Minister Raj Kumar Chauhan, the coming days will witness Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi campaign for the party.

While Dr Singh will address a rally in Ambedkar Nagar in support of the Congress candidate, Chaudhry Prem Singh on November 27, Mr Rahul Gandhi will address a rally on November 26 in Seemapuri in support of Congress candidate Veer Singh.

Similarly, the BJP will also field its star campaigners like Shatrughan Sinha, Navjot Singh Sidhu and Smriti Irani in the coming week.

Mr Sinha will hold a meeting in Sarojini Nagar today in favour of BJP candidate Vijay Jolly while Mr Sidhu and Ms Irani will address public meetings in east Delhi and north Delhi in the coming week.

While the main contest in the November 29 Assembly elections is between the BJP and the Congress, the BSP is also claiming itself to be a force to reckon with. It has fielded its candidates from all the 70 seats. In fact, it has roped in supremo Mayawati for a rally in Trilok Puri today.

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