Standing on a make-shift stage erected right in front of a shop that was burnt down in communal violence last year at east Delhi’s Trilokpuri, AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal told a gathering that they should vote for the party (AAP) that does not divide people.
Violence erupted in the east Delhi colony on Diwali night last year and continued for three days with the government deploying riot police and paramilitary forces to control the situation.
Scores of people gathered to hear the AAP leader, not just filling the narrow streets in the colony but also rooftops to catch a glimpse of Kejriwal.
“People from all the religions have lived here peacefully for years. Though there have been minor arguments, we have never seen violence aggravated to such grave levels. We have tried both Congress and the BJP but now we want a party which will stand for people and not for religions,” said Israr Khan, the owner of the destroyed AtoZ store in block-27 — the worst hit by the riots in October.
Khan, who was a known Congress supporter all his life, was seen sitting on the stage supporting AAP.
As Kejriwal stepped on the dais, the crowd greeted him with cheers, sloganeering, waving flags and lifting the broom — the party symbol. “BJP is playing politics of mudslinging. Our finance minister, Arun Jaitley has said I have been exposed before the people of Delhi. I only want to ask him one thing, he has the police, the CBI and the paramilitary forces under him, if I have done anything wrong then why does he not arrest me?” said Kejriwal, defending himself and his party against the allegations that the party took donations from dubious firms.
He said the BJP had given the people hopes of a better future but in its seven months of governance has done nothing for the poor.
Eighty four-year-old Draupadi Devi screamed slogans supporting the party with all her might. Devi lives in block-20 with her 40-year-old son who is mentally ill. Her poor health does not allow her to earn enough to run her house, she is confident that the skyrocketing prices of household goods will be controlled if Aam Aadmi Party comes to power.
“Last month, I got an electricity bill of Rs 3,600 which is barely the money I make in a month. How can a poor woman survive if I spend my entire month’s income on the electricity bill alone,” said Devi.