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HindustanTimes Fri,22 Aug 2014

Kejriwal's grassroots campaign style attracts Delhi’s middle class

Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, September 04, 2013
First Published: 15:30 IST(4/9/2013) | Last Updated: 19:16 IST(4/9/2013)

Even as biggies Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party are yet to begin campaigning for the assembly elections in Delhi in right earnest, Arvind Kejriwal’s debutante Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is making the most of this vacuum with its meet-the-people approach.

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The party volunteers are reaching out to people in the city and are promising to address their concerns regarding governance, civic issues etc. The party is getting a good response in middle-class areas.

Retired colonel RS Singh, who was waiting to meet Kejriwal at a meeting in Rohini on Sunday, said, “I think Kejriwal can meet our aspirations and provide cleaner governance to us. He can provide an alternative to the rotten political system.”

AAP members approached people at the meet and asked them about the problems they face in their day-to-day lives. After noting down their complaints, they said the problems will addressed. Volunteers also promised to visit people at their homes.

The party has a strong base in Delhi in terms of volunteers and is using this strength to maximum benefit. “I have been voting since 1950s but nobody ever asked me what I want from my representative. Kejriwal’s people asked for my suggestions,” said 78-year-old Digambar Dass Aggarwal.

In a bid to appear ‘different’ from other parties, Kejriwal has also introduced the concept of ‘swaraj’ where local development will be carried out in consultation with citizens.

Anna Hazare had got the Maharashtra government to incorporate "Swaraj" in local urban bodies after the 2009 general elections, otherwise community participation in India is limited to village local bodies.

Kejriwal has been targeting the Congress for its poor performance and the BJP for failing as an opposition in the city where the Congress has been in power for almost 15 years.

Kejriwal’s rallies in middle-class colonies like Rohini, Janakpuri, Saraswati Vihar, RK Puram and Mayur Vihar have evoked a good response.

However, the question hangs in the balance as to whether the party could maintain this tempo once the Congress and BJP stalwarts begin campaigning.


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