Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday filed nomination papers for the most-watched contest of this election, while attacking Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi for their "helicopter democracy".
AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal during a visit to the Kaal Bhairav temple in Varanasi. (PTI Photo)
On his way to file poll papers, Kejriwal pitched his aam aadmi credentials and highlighted the massive amounts of money spent on election campaigns of Modi and Congress vice-president, asking people to decide what kind of democracy they wanted.
"Somebody was saying that Modi is spending Rs. 5000 crore in advertisements. Gandhi is also spending a lot of money. You watch TV, read newspapers, see billboards, they are there and everywhere. If he (Modi) is elected to power, he will make at least Rs. 5 lakh crore," he told people during a road show.
"I am a fakir. I have no money. I will run a campaign on your money. You decide what do you want," he said.
Kejriwal is pitted BJP's PM nominee Modi---except in 2004, Varanansi has been electing BJP candidates since 1991---and Congress' Ajay Rai. Modi would arrive here on Thursday to officially stake his claim from this historic seat.
Surrounded by a strong media contingent from India and abroad, Kejriwal made a stopover at Benares Hindu University, where Modi is scheduled to garland a statue of the varsity's founder Madan Mohan Malaviya.
"What I know is after establishing the BHU, Malaviyaji had ensured that the university was out of bounds for the politicians and the police," Kejriwal said.
"It's a paradox that on Thursday both politicians and the police would be all over the place in this historic BHU," he said amid applause and sloganeering by broom-waving supporters at Lahurabeer crossing, from where he launched his roadshow in an open jeep.
He also mentioned that Modi would be arriving on a helicopter to BHU and after garlanding university founder's statue would again hop on the chopper for his next destination before starting his road show.
"People of Amethi are now fed up of Rahul Gandhi whom they see arrive and leave in a chopper. I hope Varanasi doesn't make the same mistake else they too would see Modiji mostly on a helicopter but never among them," he said.
The Kejriwal road show was perhaps numerically "almost as good" than the one witnessed during Congress candidate Ajay Rai's nomination a couple of days ago.
While there were expectedly different versions as to whose nomination was bigger in terms of numbers and whether Modi's Thursday nomination would be the biggest, a Kejriwal fan said that it was not about numbers "but about the man and his message".
Beant Singh who runs a small shop at Lahurabeer crossing from where Kejriwal launched his nomination show said, "Neither is it about numbers nor about winning. It's all about making people think if they are willing to let an honest man prevail in an environment of no-hope."
As enthusiastic crowd that swayed to the tunes of 'mera rang de Basanti chola' trumpeted Kejriwal's crusade against corruption.
The AAP leader, accompanied by his core team members Manish Sisodia and Sanjay Singh, spoke of the "hoardings war" unleashed by the BJP, Congress and others, and asked who was funding the publicity blitzkrieg of these parties.
A volunteer drew his attention to a hoarding by a prominent industrial house, against whom Kejriwal had initiated action during his 49-day stint as Delhi chief minister.
"That sums up everything. The BJP's ad budget is supposedly a whopping Rs. 5,000 crore and Congress has an equally high budget. This is black money. Post elections, me and you would be made to pay as those funding the campaigns would like to make up for it," he said.
He then played the commoner to the hilt, saying he only had "Rs 500, people's love and blessings of parents".
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