iconimg Friday, August 28, 2015

Neelam Pandey, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, March 29, 2014
Clad in a blue checked shirt and denim, sporting the signature AAP cap, Chandni Chowk candidate Ashutosh waves at the crowd as he passes by their houses in the blistering heat around 2 pm. The open jeep in which he is standing is being driven by an AAP volunteer, a Wharton graduate who runs his own business. The entire cavalcade led by Ashutosh is full of professionals who are helping him reach out to voters — some distributing pamphlets and others handing out AAP caps to people.

The road show started around 10 am from the Pitampura sports complex and concluded at the AA block traffic signal in Shalimar Bagh, part of the constituency. Patriotic songs are being played on a truck, part of the cavalcade. Those standing and sitting inside the jeep, including sitting MLA Bandana Kumari, ask people to remember only the ‘jhaadu’ (AAP symbol, the broom).

Voices of AAP supporters shouting ‘Amma, jhaadu’, bhaisaab, jhaadu, mingles with the voices of residents who stop to greet Ashutosh. Many people are clicking photographs of the road show, while a number of families are standing on their balconies, waving at AAP supporters.

A two-wheeler, cars, jeep, bicycle and even an auto rickshaw forms part of the unique cavalcade.

“You have to decide whom do you want to vote for. Do you want to vote for those who go missing soon after winning the elections and resurface again only at the time of elections. You have to choose between an honest and dishonest candidate,” says Ashutosh, as he stops in between to interact with the supporters and the residents.

Despite the 49-day rule of the AAP government and Arvind Kejriwal’s resignation as the chief minister amid high drama, people still hope the party will deliver.

“We are fed up of the BJP and the Congress. The AAP is the only alternative. I want to give them a chance once more. They were harassed and hence resigned,” says Surender Rathore, a resident of Shalimar Bagh who had come along with his children to see the road show.

Of the 10 assembly seats falling under the Chandni Chowk Parliamentary constituency, the AAP marked a spectacular debut by winning four in the December 2013 assembly elections. The BJP followed with three seats and the Congress won just two. Shoaib Iqbal of the Janata Dal (United) won one seat.