Mixed response to Kejriwal in Mumbai

  • Smruti Koppikar, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • |
  • Updated: Mar 13, 2014 00:23 IST
  • Kejriwal, Mumbai

    AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal travels in an auto after his arrival in Mumbai to campaign for party candidates ahead of Lok Sabha elections. (Satish Bate/HT ...

  • Kejriwal, Mumbai

    AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal interacts with party supporters on his arrival in Mumbai for campaigning ahead of Lok Sabha polls. (Satish Bate/HT Photo)

  • Kejriwal, Mumbai

    Chaos following Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal's arrival in Mumbai where the party chief is campaigning for party candidates ahead of Lok Sabha polls.  ...

  • Kejriwal, Mumbai

    Aam Aadmi Party supporters travel in autos along with party leader Arvind Kejriwal who is in Mumbai to campaign for party candidates ahead of Lok ...

  • Kejriwal, Mumbai

    Crowd waits at Mumbai Airport ahead of Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal's arrival in the state for campaigning ahead of Lok Sabha polls. (Satish ...

  • Kejriwal, Mumbai

    Chaos at Mumbai Airport on the arrival of Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal in the state for campaigning ahead of Lok Sabha polls. (Satish ...

  • Kejriwal, Mumbai

    AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal in an auto on his way to Andheri station from Mumbai airport. (Satish Bate/HT Photo)

  • Kejriwal, Mumbai

    Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal on reaching Mumbai to campaign for party candidates ahead of Lok Sabha polls. (Satish Bate/HT Photo)

  • Kejriwal, Mumbai

    Aam Admi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal waves to his supporters during a road show in Mumbai ahead of Lok Sabha polls. (AFP Photo)

  • Kejriwal, Mumbai

    Aam Admi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal travels to Churchgate station on a local train in Mumbai for campaigning ahead of Lok Sabha polls. (AFP Photo)

Traffic came to a standstill as supporters of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) spilled onto streets to welcome Arvind Kejriwal. But Mumbai, the city of many political uprisings, did not rise as one to fall behind the man who changed the political architecture in Delhi.

On his day out in Mumbai, Kejriwal connected Mumbaiites in a way that few politicians have done: slick south Mumbaikars to slums, private car travellers to suburban railway, staunch Hindus to Khilafat philosophy.

Among the converted, he evoked passion and hope in huge proportions. It was easy to believe that revolution was just round the corner as he spoke in Byculla and Vikhroli.

A police inspector on duty wanted to share ideas with him to rid the force of corruption and erase poverty from Mumbai. “If anyone can do it, Kejriwal can,” he said. Kejriwal’s audiences, the rickshaw drivers, shoe-shine boys at stations, and especially slum-dwellers in Vikhroli mobilised largely by AAP candidate Medha Patkar latched on to his words.

What he said is familiar by now: There’s no (Narendra) Modi wave but only a wave of anger in people, the Congress and the BJP have both looted people, if you want a change you must come out and vote for it.

But large masses of Mumbaikars, though sympathetic and enthusiastic, were yet to be converted to his brand of agitational, ideologically-anodyne politics.
 
They either watched in amusement or complained about the delays, traffic snarls and other inconveniences that Kejriwal and his entourage left in their wake as they criss-crossed the city.

This is part of the city’s continuing chronicle with Kejriwal, Anna Hazare and their movements. Through the last two years, as they roused Delhi with anti-corruption agitations and a new political language, Mumbai’s reaction ranged from lukewarm to disinterested.

In the absence of ground-level engagement, many see Kejriwal’s wooing of Mumbai as theatrics. At Andheri station, where he boarded a train, Jagdishbhai Patel, months away from his retirement in an insurance company, said: “Kejriwal is doing drama; such drama may work in Delhi but it never does here.”

Mumbai places a premium on pragmatism, after all.

 

also read

Sonia, Rahul kept their distance

blog comments powered by Disqus