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HindustanTimes Tue,30 Sep 2014

AAP returns to ‘school’ to reclaim lost Delhi turf

Soumya Pillai, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, August 04, 2014
First Published: 00:17 IST(4/8/2014) | Last Updated: 00:19 IST(4/8/2014)

Desperate to reclaim lost political ground in Delhi, the Aam Aadmi Party— a political outfit born of a massive agitation — returned to the protest hotspot in central Delhi.

The message was as much in the venue as it was in the speeches made by the party leaders at a stage erected for them in the narrow lanes of Jantar Mantar. The venue was smaller, some would argue, but packed with ‘capped’ supporters nonetheless.

The 5,000-strong crowd would be heartening for a party that had failed to win even a single seat in the recent Lok Sabha polls in Delhi after making an incredible debut in December 2013 assembly elections.

Unlike in the past, the party brought in supporters from several constituencies in buses. But the enthusiasm shown by some of them must have cheered up the party leaders who are demanding repolls in Delhi.   

Volunteers climbed barricades and trees around the venue to catch a glimpse of the AAP brass that included former Delhi ministers Manish Sisodia, Rakhi Birla, Somnath Bharti, party MP Bhagwant Mann and senior leader Yogendra Yadav apart from Arvind Kejriwal.

The speakers made all the right noises. Issues such as corruption, rising prices of tomatoes and e-rickshaws elicited cheers from among the crowd, which wore matching white Gandhi caps. Some of them also waved brooms (the party’s election symbol) while sitting on their friends’ shoulders. A few raised banners while others splashed plastic water packets that were distributed at the venue to cheer the speakers. Some were seen waving the Tricolour here and there.

“We were fooled by the whole Modi wave. The government has done nothing for the people. ‘Ache din’ have come only for the BJP and not for the people,” said Ugan Chaudhary, a businessman from Tughlaqabad.

The presence of those protesting against the CSAT in civil services examination and e-rickshaw drivers also helped raise the number of participants. The meeting started at 3pm and soon there was almost no space left to move in or out. Those stuck in the crowd had to jostle a long way to come out.


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