Buoyed by his party’s Punjab triumph, an enthusiastic Aam Aadmi Party supremo Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday took the battle straight into the toughest opponent’s camp as he appealed to the people of Gujarat to give the AAP an opportunity to end the “corrupt 25-year rule of the BJP.”
As thousands cheered on a blistering Ahmedabad afternoon, Kejriwal asserted, “We are not here to defeat the BJP or the Congress in the coming elections, we are here to ensure victory of the people of Gujarat.”
With AAP’s newly-elected Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann in tow, he asked the crowds, “What you have got in the 25 years of endless rule in Gujarat? Nothing but corruption. Isn’t it?”
He added, “The 25 years of seamless power has gone to the head of the BJP. They have become arrogant with little concern for the people.”
Addressing a roadshow that he called a Tiranga Yatra in Ahmedabad’s eastern labour-dominated suburb Nikol, he asserted, “We stopped corruption in the Delhi Government, Bhagwant Mann has put a halt on it in 10 days. Vote us and give an opportunity and you will see the difference.”
“When someone speaks of bribes in the Delhi Government, people say ‘don’t try this, Kejriwal aa jayega (reminiscent of the famous Sholay movie dialogue, Gabbar Singh aa jayega). And it is the same now in Punjab, Mann aa jayega,” the AAP supremo went on.
As slogans “Inquilab Zindabad”, “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” and “Vande Mataram” reached a crescendo with thousands of Indian flags in the hands of the crowds walking through the streets during the 2-km roadshow, Kejriwal standing atop a truck with Mann, began with a “Kem Chho”, took a pause as the crowds cheered, and said, “The spirit of the people here arouses a true sentiment of desh bhakti.”
Minutes earlier, just as Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann asserted, “We have conquered Delhi and Punjab, now it is the turn of Gujarat,” he was welcomed with “jeetega, bhai jeetega, Aam Aadmi jeetega (the common man will win) slogans.
Apparently concerned over the massive crowds at the Tiranga Yatra, the BJP’s social media wing went into an overdrive alleging that the crowds were paid to reach there. It even uploaded videos claiming that people were being paid to attend the roadshow.
Earlier in the day, the Delhi and Punjab Chief Ministers visited the Sabarmati Ashram as part of their two-day visit to the city. They went to Hriday Kunj, where Mahatma Gandhi used to live in the ashram. They also tried their hands on ‘charkha,’ (spinning wheel).
Kejriwal wrote in the visitors’ diary there, “I have visited the ashram several times in the past, and every time I visit, I feel peaceful and as if the soul of Gandhiji resides here.” Mann wrote, “Today, while visiting Gandhi Ashram, got to see many things that were used during the freedom struggle of the country, such as Gandhi’s handwritten letter, original spinning wheel, and many other things related to his life.”
The AAP sees a hope in Gujarat and has decided to contest all the 182 seats in the State Assembly.