She was running two hours behind schedule on Wednesday when around 5pm, the sky suddenly became overcast. But a determined Krishna Tirath kept moving from alley to alley in Jahangirpuri.
People came out to meet her, shake hands, get their pictures clicked and garland her.
Tirath, the minister for women and child development in the Manmohan Singh cabinet, is seeking a re-election from the North West parliamentary constituency. “You had extended your support and elected me in the last two elections and I never deprived you of anything. You know that development of the constituency had always remained my priority. I would request you to vote for me and let me continue the process of development,” the 59-year-old told onlookers.
Clad in a simple printed cotton sari, Tirath waved at onlookers, hugged those who manage to come close to her and blessed the younger ones.
She was accompanied by the local MLA Devender Singh and about a hundred others, most of them Dalit leaders, who have been praising her for carrying out ‘exemplary’ development work in the area and raising slogans in her support.
Young party enthusiasts were seen singing paeans to her for improving the water supply, constructing pucca roads, enhancing transport connectivity and ensuring safety for women. Several elderly too joined the campaign rally and asked onlookers to vote for Tirath. “Kendra mein job hi ho, humein to Tirathji ko hi jitana hai (Whichever party comes to power at the Centre, we will ensure Tirathji’s victory),” said an 89-year-old woman.
Hukum Chand Yadav, a local leader, said that people, irrespective of their political affiliations, loved and respected Tirath for her humble nature and pro-development approach. “People have lost all hope from the Aam Aadmi Party and its candidate Rakhi Birla cannot make inroads into this locality. BJP’s Udit Raj is an outsider and unaware of the local issues. He will be badly defeated,” he said.
Tirath managed to cover 10km when it started raining and the door-to-door campaign had to be called off.