His two-day roadshow, which started from Faridabad on Saturday, will culminate in Gurgaon
It is around noon. Over 30 people, including a few women and children, are huddled up at Baba Deep Singh Ji Hind Chowk here eagerly waiting the cavalcade of Aam Aadmi Party national convener Arvind Kejriwal.
After someone from the assembly breaks the news that ‘Arvindji’ has reached Hardware Chowk, a kilometre away, and is expected any moment, the atmosphere gets instantly charged and the crowd breaks into jubilation waving the tricolour and raising slogans. Cries of “Desh Ka Neta Kaisa Ho, Kejriwal Jaisa Ho” and “Jaag Gaya Bhai Jaag Gaya, Aam Aadmi Jag Gaya” fill the air.
Mr. Kejriwal soon arrives in an open jeep followed by a dozen vehicles and almost everyone in the crowd rushes to shake his hands. While some climb up on the vehicle to garland him, others shower petals and a young man takes off his AAP cap and offers it to Mr. Kejriwal, which he readily wears. And in no time, the cavalcade speeds off to the next destination.
Sixty-year-old V.S. Dagar, a local businessman, standing with the support of a pair of crutches, says: “One of my neighbours told me in the morning about Kejriwal’s roadshow. I have heard him on television. I wanted to meet him face-to-face. I support the BJP and most of the people here are not AAP supporters, but they were all curious about Kejriwal.”
The cavalcade then enters Jawahar Colony, mostly inhabited by migrants and with shops on both sides of the narrow lanes eating into the space for vehicles. Here too, curious onlookers greet Mr. Kejriwal.
“Kejriwal has come to Faridabad for the first time. People are curious about him. See how they are standing in the balconies and have come out of their houses to get a glance of him. This road show may help his party to register its presence, but they are not in the race here. It is not easy to win a Lok Sabha election. Many even do not know the name of the AAP candidate. But they can expect to win in Assembly elections,” says 50-year-old Harish Kumar, who supplies water canisters at homes.
A septuagenarian standing nearby adds: “Whatever be the result, Kejriwal is correct when he says the BJP and the Congress are the same. When the BJP is importing leaders from the Congress, how can they claim to be different. The AAP may still be new to Haryana, but people have already started talking about it.”
The two-day roadshow of Mr. Kejriwal, which started from Sector 37 market in Faridabad on Saturday morning, will culminate in Gurgaon on Sunday afternoon passing through Palwal, Mewat and Rewari districts of Haryana.
Mr. Kejriwal is also expected to hold public meetings at some places en route seeking support for party candidates Yogendra Yadav from Gurgaon and Purushottam Dagar from Faridabad.
But it has not been all smooth sailing for Mr Kejriwal, who was shown black flags by some at the start of the road show.
They accuse him of running away from the responsibility by resigning as Delhi Chief Minister in just 49 days.