As the customised, roofless battery rickshaw slowly made its way through the narrow lanes of North East Delhi’s Rohtas Nagar, amused residents of the area stood in balconies and roofs to catch a glimpse of Bhojpuri actor and singer Manoj Tiwari. From the ground, all you could see beyond the crowd that had gathered was Tiwari’s hand, with a huge black wrist watch, waving back at the voters.
Manoj Tiwari is the BJP candidate from the North East Delhi seat, a constituency with a sizeable population of Poorvanchali voters. The heavily garlanded Tiwari, wearing a blue shirt and maroon jacket, started his campaign from Kabool Nagar, which is part of the Rohtas Nagar area.
“I don’t know who is the BJP candidate from our area but if I vote for BJP, it will be because of Modi,” said Shweta Sharma, a resident. “In the last five years, there has been no improvement in our area,” she said.
While many residents of the area don’t know much about Tiwari, residents who hail from Bihar and Eastern Uttar Pradesh are his absolute fans. “He is a celebrity and it was great to see him up close. There are many Poorvanchalis in this area and Tiwari has a very good chance of winning,” said Manoj Kumar, who had joined the crowd to shake hands with him.
As Tiwari moved on, he got down from the rickshaw to campaign on foot. After a little walk, his supporters realised that he wasn’t visible behind the crowd. Tiwari climbed back on the rickshaw. When asked about being an ‘outsider’ in the constituency, Tiwari said that he has support not only from the Poorvanchali community but every voter in the area.
“People of North East Delhi have been treated as step children. There are so many problems here, such as traffic jams, lack of colleges, metro connectivity, etc.” he said. “You will see the change within 60 days after I win. And our win is guaranteed.”
Soon, word spread that Tiwari was in the area and more fans, particularly children, queued up to get his autograph. Soon, there were requests for him to sing. Tiwari didn’t sing but recited two lines from a song he has written — “Bharat Ma hain peedha mein, yeh peedha ki moorat hain. Saara desh pukar raha hai, ab Modi ki zaroorat hai”.