Kejriwal arrives in Surat to a hero’s welcome: You people did a miracle, he tells residents
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal arrived in Surat to a victor’s welcome on Friday, with hundreds of people cheering him on as he took out a road show to thank the people of the diamond city for electing his party as the chief opposition party in the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC).
In the recently concluded civic body polls, the AAP won 27 of 120 seats in the Surat Municipal Corporation in its debut appearance, thereby emerging the principal opposition party against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which won 93 seats. The Congress and other parties could not open their account in the municipality.
Amid allegations by some AAP winners that the BJP was trying to make them defect, Kejriwal cautioned his party workers and said, “The BJP will try to poach you by pressure or by luring you. But stay united and inform the party if you receive such a call from the BJP.”
Kejriwal, whose party had scored a zero in the state in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, was visiting Gujarat for the first time in seven years. He had stayed away even during the campaigning for the local body polls, and deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia had managed the party’s campaign.
Addressing a massive gathering in Surat on Friday, Kejriwal said, “Aapko Surat ki janta ney vipaksh ka kaam diya hai, unki (ruling BJP) naani yaad dila dena, ek bhi galat kaam mat hone dena (People of Surat have chosen you as the opposition party, don’t allow any corruption in the civic body).”
“The entire Gujarat should know that we have arrived and won’t brook any illegal activities. People of Gujarat should know that a different politics is happening in Surat,” he said.
Kejriwal said the entire country was discussing the AAP’s entry into Gujarat, especially in Surat. “Logon ne kamaal kar diya (You people did a miracle),” an elated AAP chief said, as hundreds cheered him.
Although his party won only 27 seats, Kejriwal’s roadshow in Surat was like a veritable victory procession. For AAP, as he himself said, opening an electoral account in Gujarat, a BJP stronghold, was in itself an achievement.
Kejriwal had a word of caution for his party workers to remain grounded and not get complacent. He said, “It is common that people who get elected develop an ego. But I am pleading with you not to have an ego and continue to introspect. Always treat people who approach you for help with respect because nobody wants to get insulted.”
He asked the elected councillors to open an office in their locality and if they could not afford to do so, to open one at their residence. Kejriwal said, “Even if anyone calls you at 2am, remain available to them and try to help them,” he said. .