A day after Modi, AAP's show of strength

A day after Modi, AAP's show of strength

After the grand show by BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Thursday, it was Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal’s turn on Friday to show his strength on the narrow and chaotic streets of Varanasi.

If it was the upper-middle and middle class that filled the streets here on Thursday, on Friday it was the day for the autowallahs, rickshaw wallahs and others like them to throng the streets and express their support for the AAP leader.

“Time nahin hai aaj saab (no time today sir),” was the common refrain of many auto-drivers and rickshaw-pullers in the temple town. The harried commuters readily agreed for the autos and rickshaws displaying “broom” (the election symbol of AAP).

Many AAP volunteers were seen travelling in autos and rickshaws as ordinary commuters and waving the party flags. Though there were old and young both in the roadshow, a large number of participants were from other parts of the country. However, the youngsters clearly outnumbered the others.

The crowd consisted of young students aspiring to be IAS officers and pursuing research, as well as engineers and software professionals. They had come to Varanasi on their own and spent money from their own pockets.

The AAP workers danced, staged roadside plays and recited songs to drive home their message to the people of the temple town.

“I have come from Bangalore...earlier I was with the BJP but I was fed with its politics...I have now joined the AAP...I am here on my own,” said Prakash Babu told Deccan Herald here.

Electronics engineer Rama Tewari has come here from Delhi. “I have been here for the past two days...this is my second visit here...I am here to support Kejriwal because I like his policies,” she said.

IAS aspirant Ishant Rao, who lives in Delhi, had also arrived here to be part of the roadshow of the AAP. “I particularly like the stress on ethics by the AAP,” he said.

For many in Varanasi, it was a different show. “We have seen Kejriwal campaigning in the narrow lanes of the temple town but for the first time he displayed his strength on the roads,” said Golghar-resident Rajesh Agarwal.

Doubts, however, lingered. “Many in the show are not voters here,” said Lahurabir-resident Kaushal, who was among the locals who wanted to see Kejriwal. It remains to be seen whether the support displayed on the streets will get translated into votes on May 12.

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