From Haryana to Kerala, Arvind Kejriwal supporters flood Delhi
Cutting across religion and social ranks, they came to the city from as far as Kerala, while other dropped in from neighbouring states to see and hear the "favourite" chief minister speak on the historic occasion.
New Delhi: Cutting across religion and social ranks, they came to the city from as far as Kerala, while other dropped in from neighbouring states to see and hear the "favourite" chief minister speak on the historic occasion.
Hailed by countless admirers and supporters as the "ambassador of the common man", AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal today assumed charge as the chief minister of Delhi, and people poured in by the hordes at the Ramlila Maidan just to catch a glimpse of him.
Social worker Naveen from Kottayam district in Kerala, came to the venue carrying a banner, bearing a message for Kejriwal in Malayalam that said -- 'The poor man's commander would today become the king'.
He said, about 20 people arrived today from Kottayam to witness the day. "I had been here two months ago though to support the party during campaign days."
With a festive aura hung about in the air, the chief minister also had a few visitors from the holy town of Barsana in Mathura.
"We have come from the city of Radha and brought 'prasad' from the Radha Rani Temple for him. Since, our town Barsana is famous for Holi, we will later go to his house in Kaushambi and invite the Delhi chief minister to festival of colours," Radha Rani Temple's priest Govind Ram Munim told PTI.
But, the desire to see the chief minister, who made a spectacular comeback to power in the national capital by bagging 67 seats in a 70-member House, cut across region, religion and social rank.
Cousins Hamid Qureshi and Asif Qureshi, street hawkers, hailing from Muzaffarnagar (UP), said they came to Ramlila for the first time in their lives.
"We knew we had to come. So, we travelled together to see him speak. We had heard so much about him (Kejriwal) and now after this election, our respect for him has only grown," Hamid, who sells sweetmeats, said.
Both brothers also sported the trademark "5 saal Kejriwal/Mai Hoon Aam Aadmi" white caps in a show of solidarity.
Kundal Kumar, a member of AAP's Rohtas District team in Bihar said, people came in hordes from the state to attend the day's programme.
"Trains like Sampooran Kranti were jam-packed with people. A few hundred of us have come from Sasaram (Rohtas' disrict headquarters). For us, it is a moment for jubilation and celebration," Kumar said.
People from neighbouring Haryana too were present to cheer the AAP party and its leader, at the Ramlila Maidan, which saw nearly a lakh people in attendance for Kejriwal's second swearing-in today.
AAP's Kolkata supporters, who had earlier been present at the Ramlila during Anna Hazare's anti-graft crusade, were ecstatic to attend the ceremony.
"Around 10-12 people have come from Kolkata with us. We are absolutely thrilled to be part of this day, which will be scripted in the pages of history," 36-year-old Shubroto said.
But, it wasn't just outstation supporters, who flocked to the venue in a show of allegiance, street hawkers and vendors from within the city, came to the venue, "not for doing business, but to hear our CM speak."
"We had voted for him in all three elections, (2013 Delhi polls, Lok Sabha 2014 and Assembly elections 2015). How could we have not come for our CM, who thinks for us the downtrodden, and is a protector of the poor," Tulsi Ram, a street vendor, who otherwise, sells in Jehangirpuri area, said.
Kejriwal, in his address to the massive crowd, after assuming chief ministership today, said, "Today, it is not just me, but every person in this city has become a CM...We want to make Delhi a place, on which every poor, and every rich of this city will take pride in."
Chants of "Paanch Saal Kejriwal" rent the air at Ramlila, as supporters sporting the ubiquitous AAP cap turned the dusty ground into a sea of white.