AAP leader files nomination papers in Varanasi

Arvind Kejriwal of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) filed his nomination from the Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency on Wednesday, but not before he pitched himself as a fakkad (poor) and trained his guns on the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Narendra Modi and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi for travelling in helicopters.

Mr. Kejriwal’s roadshow, which began at least two hours behind schedule, saw a huge turnout, prompting the local BJP and Congress leaders to quip that the attendees had been “brought” from other States.

The AAP leader projected himself as a common man, accessible to the people.

“In Amethi people are shown a helicopter and told that their MP, Rahul Gandhi is on board. When they go to meet him in Delhi, the security guards beat them and shoo them away,” he said as the crowds cheered. “They believe in helicopter jantantra [democracy],” he said.

Taking a dig at the BJP, he said: “ Mr. Modi will fly in and go to Banaras Hindu University and pay tributes to Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya. When Pandit Malviya set up BHU, he did not allow politicians and policemen on the campus, but on Thursday that will change.”

Mr. Modi will also travel in a helicopter and people in Varanasi will see him just as people in Amethi see Mr. Gandhi.”Asserting that he will not only offer a corruption-free government, Mr. Kejriwal said he would remain an accessible MP, who people can “see, hold and shake hands with.”

“If Mr. Modi were to travel by car, he would get a first-hand feel of how bad the roads in Varanasi are,” he said. The attack against the BJP and the Congress got sharper when he declared that while he had just Rs. 500 with him and no money to contest polls, Mr. Modi had spent more than Rs. 5,000 crore and Mr. Gandhi Rs. 1,000 crore on electioneering so far, he said.

Pointing to a huge billboard of Mr. Modi, Mr. Kejriwal said, “Who pays for this?” Then pointing to a Reliance billboard, he commented, “All those who are paying this money now will make 5 lakh crore for themselves after the election.”

On the route to Kachehri, he was jeered by BJP supporters, but the former Delhi Chief Minister blew kisses at them, drawing applause.