The country is ready for the Aam Aadmi Party, its chief Arvind Kejriwal has said. In the city for his two-day rally, he told The Hindu on Saturday that Karnataka had grown tired of the BJP and the Congress, which together “looted the people.”
Mr. Kejriwal was responding to a question whether the AAP, a party with cultural roots in the north, could make an impression in south India. Will language prove a barrier? “The language of truth knows no boundaries,” he said.
The AAP leader launched his rally with a sharp critique of the media for concealing the “truth” about Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
“Does the media have the courage to reveal the truth about Gujarat,” he asked, adding that some sections of the media “lied” about Gujarat’s development story.
Flanked by the AAP’s three Bangalore candidates and party supporters wearing white caps and wielding brooms, Mr. Kejriwal said in Hindi: “There are many more truths about Modiji’s development. But which media house will show that? Isn’t it true that 60,000 small industries closed during Modiji’s regime? Isn’t it true that there is huge corruption in Gujarat even eleven years after Modiji took over? Isn’t it true that 800 farmers committed suicide during Modiji’s term?”
The rally started as a fairly subdued affair with modest attendance at Hebbal in Bangalore North, where Mr. Kejriwal campaigned for the AAP’s candidate, lawyer Babu Mathew, but gathered crowds as it made its way through Central Bangalore (where the AAP is fielding ex-Infosys director V. Balakrishnan) and Bangalore South, where women and child rights activist Nina Nayak is contesting on AAP ticket against the BJP’s Ananth Kumar and Congress candidate Nandan Nilekani.
Students and professionals, members of resident welfare association donned the AAP caps that party volunteers handed out.
The rally drew much attention, especially in Lalbagh and Jayanagar and on DVJ Road, where volunteers burst crackers and cleaned up after themselves, with their handy party prop — the jhadoo. Mr. Kejriwal stopped every few metres to shake hands with his supporters and give quick sound bytes to the tailing media.
While his rally was to go on till 7.30 pm, he called it off at around 6 p.m. when he complained of exhaustion. His last stop was at Sadshivanagar, and not the War Memorial as was earlier planned. On Sunday, Mr. Kejriwal will address a public meeting at Freedom Park at 3 pm, after a rally in Chickballapur.