Aam Aadmi Party chose a Sunday to hold a campaign meeting at Nai Sarak, in front of the famous Town Hall. The main market of Chandni Chowk remains closed on Sundays.
As people whistled and clapped on party leader Arvind Kejriwal’s comments, Hari Om Gupta sat on the terrace of a dilapidated building with his friends, sampling the size of the crowd. “A few days ago, both Congress and BJP had held a meeting here. Today’s crowd is three times more than that commanded by both the parties’ combined.”
Mohammad Najeeb, a dentist from Kuchcha Rehman sat near the stage. “The three councillors who joined them recently have helped change the tide in the Walled City. Kapil Sibal was the HRD minister, but he could not even fill vacant teachers’ posts in our area,” he said.
Kejriwal recounted the journey of AAP from a new party to how Delhi gave it 28 seats to how his government resigned “on principles”. In an apparent reference to BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s aide Amit Shah’s recent remark about vengeance vis-à-vis Muzaffarnagar riots, Kejriwal said: “Hindus and Muslims do not seek vengeance against each other, but against politicians.” He also asserted that people wanted change and said, “If good people are not elected, there will be a re-election within a year.”
Kejriwal also went the Mahabharata way and compared AAP with Arjun and BJP, Congress with Duryodhan. He recounted how Duryodhan asks for Krishna’s army but Arjun seeks only the lord and said: “Rahul Gandhi and Modi have all armies but the Lord is with us.”
Earlier, AAP candidate Ashutosh had begun the meeting by paying tributes to the rich soil of Chandni Chowk and said, “India’s history will be incomplete without the mention of this area.” Reminding people of the 2002 post-Godhra Gujarat riots “soon after Modi became the chief minister” and recent Muzaffarnagar riots “soon after he was announced the prime ministerial candidate,” Ashutosh asked: “Is this a mere coincidence?” He dutifully stopped his speech as a muezzin from the nearby Baghwali Masjid gave an azaan call.
AAP MLAs from the Chandni Chowk Parliamentary constituency and other local leaders too were present on the occasion. Musician Vishal Dadlani too regaled the gathering with his songs.