Lukewarm response as Arvind Kejriwal undertakes road show in Delhi

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New Delhi: Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday undertook a road show in the Chandni Chowk constituency, aiming to revive the shrinking base among the middle class and consolidate his party’s position in Delhi.

During the road show, Kejriwal lauded achievements of his 49-day government and sought to justify the reasons for quitting the Chief Minister’s post.

The road show evoked mixed response. In places like Chandni Chowk it was over-whelming, in some places like Pitampura, the support was lukewarm.

The road show was undertaken in different assembly segments of Chandni Chowk constituency from where the party has fielded journalist-turned-politician Ashutosh.

This is the second such effort by the AAP leader since last two days to reach out to people in Delhi. On Monday , he addressed a rally for party candidate from West Delhi Jarnail Singh.

Ever since his resignation as the Delhi Chief Minister, party sources said that the middle class who supported the party were slowly moving away from AAP. However, its support among the lower middle class was still intact and strong. There were also criticism that Kejriwal was looking at other states at the cost of Delhi.

“No government since last 65 years did the work as we did. During my 49-day government didn’t I reduce the electricity and water bills?” he asked the crowd, mostly his supporters as his open-deck gypsy car halted at different locations during the road show.

“From today (April 1) you again have to pay double the electricity and water tariff because our government had only made provision till March 31. The BJP and the Congress cancelled the subsidy benefitting the electricity companies. Both these parties are hand-in-gloves and have taken money from them (discoms),” he told the crowd as they cheered in response.

Kejriwal tried to justify his quitting as Delhi Chief Minister. “Opposition people call me bhagoda (deserter). But I must tell you that I did not run away. These BJP and Congress people did not allow me to work. I could not pass a single bill, which is why I resigned,” he said.

Like his Varanasi rally last week and Monday’s rally in Dwarka, he invoked mythology. “Lord Ram left for vanvas on his mother’s order despite popular support. Had BJP been there even they would have called him a bhagoda (deserter). Even they would call King Harischandra a bhagoda had BJP been there during his time,” Kejriwal said.

He also attacked Modi for calling him a Pakistani agent. “This comment does not suit him. It requires guts and big heart to quit the chair (of Chief Minister). I did not run anywhere, neither did I go to Pakistan. I was here amongst you people. Despite attacks on me in Gujarat and Bhiwani, I will stand up and fight for corruption,” he said.

Kejriwal added that if Modi came to power, he would increase the gas prices as he had already requested the government to do so.

The rally, however, evoked mixed response. A cycle rickshaw puller outside at Pitampura Metro station was telling his fellow mate. “We have to vote for jhadu (AAP’s party symbol) this time.”

Another auto-rickshaw driver hinted that he will vote for the broom in this election.

“We will vote for Ashutosh because he has been chosen by Kejriwal,” added Dinesh Gupta, a cycle rickshaw mechanic and AAP supporter. However, there were few who remained unimpressed. “He fled from Delhi. He even could not gather many supporters.

Most of these people do not hail from our locality,” said Rahul Beniwal (21), a final year student of the Aurobindo College and a hardcore Modi supporter.

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