Millennium Post

Arvind Kejriwal’s Varanasi rally riding high on emotion

Arvind Kejriwal’s Varanasi rally riding high on emotion
And they had the mandatory black flags from station to ghat to mandir to chowk to the venue, with a couple of mug full of black ink thrown at the leaders in the open jeep which had stains on the entire top brass, largely by the same group of young pro-Modi protesters: staining the shirts and kurtas of Kejriwal, Sisodia, Sanjay Singh, Anand Kumar, Capt Surendra, Somnath Bharti, and Ilias Azmi among others.

Security arrangements were heavy indeed all throughout the way, and as Inspector Mahesh Gole noted, ‘We are taking no chances, and anti combat forces, tear gas arrangements and RAF platoon are all ready to avoid any untoward incident.’ There was indeed a mild lathi charge after the ink-episode which was later denounced by every speaker on stage as not being the ganga-jamuni Kashi culture of tolerance.

As the roadshow started from Maidagin Chowk amid slogans of: ‘Rickshawala Aam Aadmi, Dukandar Aam Aadmi, Bunkar Aam Aadmi’ and ‘Bhrashtachar ka ek hi kaal: Kejriwal Kejriwal’, amid an animated white cap-wearing couple of thousands of AAP volunteers marching along with a few hundreds of armed police, shopkeepers, homemakers and local shoppers all came out to see the unusually exciting rally.

While most onlooking shopkeepers commented, ‘Though AAP is an honest party, people expect a lot from a PM candidate in Modi in spite of complete failure of absentee MM Joshi and honest but inefficient BJP MLA Dadaji to make any difference to the issues of sanitation, roads-repairing and amenities.’ A section raised questions on why Modi is fighting from Vadodara also and which constituency will he desert on winning at both places.

While Congress leader Krishna Das and team, local BSP Zila Parishad member and his team, apart from some NGO leaders came up and joined AAP, it was interesting to see Iliaz Azmi invoking the political demise of ‘Ravana in Modi by the Rama in Arvind in the Lanka of Varanasi’, and the local Imam of Mosque of Benaras pledging support to Kejriwal ‘against corruption of Congress and communalism of BJP and SP.’ There is indeed a Lanka town in this constituency. And the weaver community leaders Jalalu and Shakeel came up to espouse support to AAP.

Pawan Kumar Singh of Benaras Hindu University appreciated the AAP as a movement, but finds it still immature as a party. Social activist and small business man Wahidullah Khan noted that the Muktar Ansari factor is not important this time around, and the voting can be done going beyond caste and community this time if there is a clear electoral battle between Modi and Kejriwal.
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