East, New Delhi, Chandni Chowk got most time from Arvind Kejriwal

Mallica Joshi
Kejriwal at a rally in Malka Ganj last month. (Express photo: Praveen Khanna)

Aam Aadmi Party chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has so far focussed his energies in East Delhi, New Delhi and Chandni Chowk, an analysis of his public meetings during the first phase of AAP's campaign reveals.

The CM addressed 29 political rallies between March 22 and April 8 - what the party defines as the first phase of their election campaign - against a target of 35 that the party had set for itself. Of these 29, seven were addressed in East Delhi and five each in New Delhi and Chandni Chowk, where the candidates are Atishi, Brijesh Goyal and Pankaj Gupta respectively.

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The message at these rallies has primarily been on statehood, jobs, housing and higher education.

The least number of rallies (2) have been addressed in West Delhi, which was also the last constituency where the party picked its candidate, lawyer Balbir Jakhar.

In March, AAP had declared that its aim was to have at least 35 rallies by the CM spread over the seven constituencies in the first phase. AAP Delhi convenor Gopal Rai had also said that by April 30, the party would target 70 rallies by the CM - one in each Assembly constituency.

After the end of the first phase, however, the focus has been on door-to-door campaigning, of which the CM has not been a part.

According to Rai, the party drew up the CM's calendar in a manner that ensured he visits areas that he hasn't in the recent past.

"The CM had inaugurated work in several unauthorised colonies before the Model Code of Conduct came into force. We took those into account, and scheduled his rallies in places that he had not visited," Rai said.

Sources, however, said that in some cases, mismanagement meant the CM could not meet the target of 35 rallies. "The difference is not big but it shows some areas were not well prepared. In West Delhi, the problem was genuine as the candidate was declared much later," a party leader said.

Kejriwal is expected to release the party's election manifesto Thursday. He will also meet MLAs, the seven candidates and senior party leaders to set the tone for the third and final phase of the campaign.

"We will come out with area- and issue-specific pamphlets now, targeting traders, migrant labourers, students, etc. In the first phase, we had rallies in different areas. The second phase was more about door-to-door campaigning, where we managed to reach out to 35 lakh voters. The strategy for the third phase of the campaign will be decided in Thursday's meeting," Rai said.

Speaking about the feedback during these meetings, Rai said, "We are seeing that wherever people say they want to vote for BJP, it is only because of Modi's name. It is Modi's name versus Kejriwal's work… The feedback we have got so far shows that people are viewing Congress as a party that will only cut votes. No one is saying that about AAP."