Wednesday, March 22, 2023
HomePoliticsThe importance of Valmiki Mandir and Hanuman Mandir in Kejriwal’s Delhi roadshow

The importance of Valmiki Mandir and Hanuman Mandir in Kejriwal’s Delhi roadshow

AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal Monday kicked off his campaign for next month’s Delhi election, but couldn’t file his nomination papers.

Text Size:

New Delhi: Symbolism was the defining theme of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s mega roadshow Monday as he kicked off his campaign for next month’s assembly elections.

The roadshow started from the iconic Valmiki Mandir at Mandir Marg near Connaught Place in an obvious outreach to Dalits. 

Shortly before the roadshow began, Kejriwal tweeted that the temple was associated with several milestones of the AAP, including a rally during the debut campaign of the party for the 2013 assembly polls.

On Valmiki Jayanti this October, he said he “hoped one day Dalits would study and become engineers and doctors”.

In August 2019, when Dalits staged protests over the court-ordered demolition of a Delhi temple associated with Sant Ravidas, another icon revered by the community, the AAP joined agitators in questioning the action, which was led by the Delhi Development Authority, overseen by the central government.  

The party has also been organising ‘Dalit bastis’ under its outreach programme across Delhi’s 70 assembly constituencies to address concerns of the community.

Kejriwal’s roadshow also made a stopover at the famous Hanuman Mandir at Connaught Place — seen as an attempt to counter the BJP’s perceived bid to polarise the elections along communal lines. 

The roadshow Monday was supposed to culminate at Patel Chowk, with Kejriwal filing his nomination papers for the New Delhi constituency. However, the rally started late and its progress through the heart of Delhi was slow, which meant Kejriwal missed the 3 pm deadline.

He will now file his nomination papers Tuesday, the last day for nominees to make their candidature for the 2020 polls official.

Also read: AAP as Avengers & ‘Thanos’ Modi — Kejriwal party gives Delhi poll campaign pop-culture spin

A personal touch

Party volunteers turned up in large numbers to extend support to the AAP national convener. A security guard from the chief minister’s cavalcade said “nearly 1,000 people were called from each of Delhi’s 70 Vidhan Sabha constituencies”. 

Kejriwal’s family — his wife Sunita, a former Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer like her husband, and their children Harshita and Pulkit — lent a personal touch as they stood beside him all through the roadshow, smiling and waving at the crowd. 

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and AAP MP Sanjay Singh took turns standing beside Kejriwal. Senior leader and Rajinder Nagar candidate Raghav Chadha was also seen at Valmiki Mandir. 

Before the roadshow, Kejriwal took his parents’ blessings at his residence. 

A special team from Mumbai and Delhi was deployed to shoot the roadshow. While they didn’t comment on how much they were being paid, ThePrint confirmed that this wasn’t being done free of cost. 

School students looking for balloons

The roadshow was carried out amid a sea of supporters holding brooms (the party symbol), wearing Kejriwal masks and chanting the party’s 2020 slogan “Acchhe beete panch saal, lage raho Kejriwal (the past five years have been good, keep going, Kejriwal)”. 

Supporters of all age-groups could be seen at the rally, raising slogans and carrying huge banners and placards in support of the party. 

School students in uniform joined in as it reached the outer circle of Connaught Place. Students of classes 6, 7 and 8 at a Pusa Road government school claimed they “were given a half-day” to attend the rally. “We wanted to roam around,” one of them said. 

Spotting the balloons several supporters were carrying, they said they were waiting for the roadshow to conclude to get their hands on some.

Listening in, two other young boys, who live at a night shelter for the homeless in East Delhi and sell balloons at Connaught Place, interrupted them. “Balloons even we have,” one of them said, “ask for food.” 

Also Read: Arvind Kejriwal’s start-up AAP is the political ‘Unicorn’ of the decade

‘I love you all’

As opposed to the 4 May roadshow during the Lok Sabha rally, where the chief minister was slapped by a person in Moti Nagar area, the roadshow Monday saw only a cheering crowd throughout. 

Addressing the crowd towards the end of the roadshow, Kejriwal expressed gratitude. “I love you, we love you all… I am really touched today,” he said, adding, “We have tried to improve the lives of all sections of people, including children, elders and women, in Delhi.

“We have worked with sheer honesty in the last five years and today marks the beginning of gearing up for the next five years,” he added to the crowd’s applause. 

The ruling AAP is seeking re-election in next month’s polls after recording a massive win in 2015 elections. The party won 67 of 70 seats, with the remaining three going to the BJP. The Congress, which led Delhi between 1998 and 2013, drew a blank.

Also read: BJP vs AAP memes: Have Delhi elections been reduced to a battle of IT cells?


Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

Support Our Journalism

India needs fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism, packed with on-ground reporting. ThePrint – with exceptional reporters, columnists and editors – is doing just that.

Sustaining this needs support from wonderful readers like you.

Whether you live in India or overseas, you can take a paid subscription by clicking here.

Support Our Journalism

Most Popular