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HindustanTimes Sat,23 Aug 2014

Busy Rakhi Birla racing against time

Nivedita Khandekar, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, March 24, 2014
First Published: 00:12 IST(24/3/2014) | Last Updated: 01:30 IST(24/3/2014)

As Rakhi Birla, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate, from North West Delhi Parliamentary constituency moved around the Bhalaswa resettlement colony, people gathered around, jostling to take a look at her and click pictures of her with their mobile phones.

“I will share the photograph on whatsapp with my friends,” said Amit Chauhan, a resident of the area who was among the curious bunch of photographers.

Birla is a woman in a hurry for her name was announced just five days ago. This was her third visit to Bhalaswa in a week. She was there on Sunday to address a nukkad meeting.

Surrounded by 150-odd people comprising mostly from the Valmiki community, Birla sat down to listen to people’s woes.

Rajendra Sindhanti, 79, a resident, appealed people to think whether they wanted to vote for ‘dynastic or nationalist rule’.

Then, an AAP volunteer Vikram, who goes by a single name, told the gathering, “Policemen, municipality workers and all government officials had stopped taking bribes. Just think, if the AAP government can do this in 49 days of rule, what can be the future.”

Clad in a white salwar-kameez and sleeveless blue jacket, Birla began her small speech with a comparison between what the incumbent area MLA and the area MP have done in their tenures and what she as a minister for women and child development did during AAP’s 49-day government. “I am here not to ask your vote but to appeal to you to know the value of your vote,” she told the gathering and reminded them that she was their daughter.

Bhalaswa was Birla’s fourth stop for the day.  Her day began at 6.30am. She held meetings with volunteers from Mundka, Bawana and Rohini.

At Bawana, she met a small group of local residents at a small private ceremonial lawn-cum-hall. After one of the elderly resident Sukhvir Singh Tevatia listed out his area’s expectations, Birla sought to touch the emotional cord asking the elders to bless their daughter and to think of what is at stake for the youth of India.

Later, at Rohini sector 16, more than 150 volunteers and AAP supporters gathered at Bansal Bhavan to interact with her. In between she had also squeezed in a brief halt over at Rohini sector 4 to participate in Maharaja Sangathan Charitable Society’s programme to mark Bhagat Singh’s death anniversary.

“We are still in the process of getting permissions for our rallies and road shows. So right now, I am attending these small programmes to reach out to the people,” Birla told HT.


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