There was a palpable sense of finality among hundreds of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supporters outside the party’s Hanuman Road office on Friday evening.
A majority of those present had regrets neither about the longevity of ‘their’ government nor about the party’s future course of action -- the much-awaited march down the road to the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
Having adorned their signature white caps and wielding brooms, a handful climbed atop walls in the vicinity while most thronged the narrow central Delhi street - the very street where they had counted down to the AAP’s unexpected electoral victory a little less than a month ago.
“What he did was correct - there was simply no other way,” said Rajnish Kumar, an auto-rickshaw driver-cum-supporter. “In however little time we were able to spend in government, we have been able to expose both the BJP as well as the Congress in addition to proving our own mettle.”
Mohammad Rasool, a private executive, said, “This is just payback for the AAP daring to raise its voice against biggies. The nation knows the difference between clean and corrupt governance now, at least and will be able to make a better choice in the Lok Sabha elections.”
Among the 200 to 300 supporters present, flash mobs of sorts would erupt in slogans every now and then with each raising a different one as a small contingent of the police kept a safe distance.
These ranged from the oft-used ‘Inquilaab Zindabad’ (Long live the Revolution) to more novel ones such as “Bharat Maa ka alsi laal - Kejriwal, Kejriwal” (Mother India’s real son - Kejriwal, Kejriwal” to “Shaheed lade the goron se, hum ladenge choron se,” (The martyrs had fought the white colonial masters, we will now fight the thieves.”
The crowd erupted in applause as soon as Kejriwal reached the office to declare his resolve to quit around 8:15 pm with a 15-minute address minced with appreciation following.
“If Kejriwalji hadn’t taken the course that he has, he would have lost a lot of support on the ground,” said Ila Gupta after Kejriwal left to submit his resignation to Lieutenant General (L-G) Najeeb Jung. “It was essentially do-or-die for us. This sacrifice will go a long way for his loyal support base,” she said.
HT asks the following questions to understand the political impact of Kejriwal's decision to quit as Delhi CM.