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HindustanTimes Fri,25 Jul 2014

As Kejriwal starts fast, a slum cluster makes news

Nivedita Khandekar, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, March 23, 2013
First Published: 23:48 IST(23/3/2013) | Last Updated: 01:28 IST(24/3/2013)

In sharp contrast to the spacious Ramlila Maidan or even Jantar Mantar, venues of his 2011 and 2012 agitations, Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) Arvind Kejriwal has chosen a narrow by-lane of a slum redevelopment cluster in northeast Delhi for his indefinite fast against inflated power and water bills.

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As one tries to reach the venue in the Murga Market area of Sundar Nagari in northeast Delhi, negotiating the narrow alley where youngsters are seen punching on typewriters in ‘documentation centre’ stalls and advocates’ offices, scores of policemen roam around aimlessly.

Even before one reaches Kejriwal’s fast venue, his speech can be heard on loudspeakers. People from the area and AAP volunteers from across the city stand cheek by jowl and few even climb the steps of grocery stores, mobile recharge cubicles, a sweet shop and sundry shops near the dais in a narrow lane in F block.

Omkar Singh, who runs Dipak Stores- a general store across the street - is thrilled. “Kejriwal’s fast will definitely benefit people like us,” he says.   

AAP’s dais has been erected right in front of the house of Santosh and her father Ranjit Singh, a tailor in a garment factory, what Kejriwal called an aam aadmi (common man). The ground floor of the one-room-each-on-two floors house with barely 9X15 feet rooms would be Kejriwal’s home for the next few days. A makeshift pre-fabricated toilet has been kept right next to the house.

Immediately after his first speech in the afternoon, Kejriwal retired to the room. “The doctor has asked him to conserve energy,” said Sunita, Kejriwal’s wife.


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