In a huge boost to the Aam Admi Party, its first public rally in the Capital since the Lok Sabha election saw a massive turnout at Jantar Mantar.
The rousing and impressive response to the rally, called by the party to build public pressure on the Centre to hold elections in Delhi, does seem to indicate that party chief Arvind Kejriwal hasn't lost his touch and remains a formidable political force in Delhi.
The sweltering Delhi heat failed to deter the crowds who descended on Jantar Mantar in thousands.
Supporters and volunteers sporting Aam Admi Party caps, waving the Indian flag and placards jostled for space at the protest venue in Jantar Mantar in Central Delhi, with many climbing on walls, trees and parked vehicles to hear Kejriwal, who was welcomed with loud cheers by the crowd.
"I came here to hear what Kejriwal had to say, to know what his agenda is. Having come here I am seriously thinking of signing up as a volunteer," said Rahul, a software developer at Microsoft.
"The BJP doesn't want elections in Delhi. Why is Modi not thinking about Delhi. We want an elected government. We should give AAP another chance because the BJP government is failing us on every front, electricity, water, price rise," added Rahul.
Akhilesh Tripathi, a student from Hindu College, Delhi University, present at the rally said he was confident of AAP returning to power if elections were called in Delhi.
"The people you see here today have come on their own and have not been paid to come here. Many students at DU are supporting Kejriwal. Now we are seeing the true face of the BJP. Look at how they are handling the UPSC issue," said Tripathi.
AAP leaders including Manish Sissodia, Prashant Bhushan, Yogendra Yadav, Gopal Rai, Sanjay Singh, Ashutosh and Somnath Bharti were present at the rally.
"There should be an election. We have so many problems. Where do we go? Every thing has come to a standstill. We need an elected government. We didn't see the kind of commitment we expected from the Central government to resolve the electricity crisis," said Rupinder Kaur, who gave up her job at the National Council of Applied Economic Research to join Kejriwal during the Lok Sabha election.
Asked about AAP's performance in Parliamentary elections, Kaur said, "Lok Sabha elections are different from state elections. Look at what happened in Uttrakhand. BJP has lost all three seats in the by-election. The dynamics are changing," said Kaur.
The rally also saw visible support from auto drivers, who were the backbone AAP's campaign during the assembly elections.
"Kejriwal is the only politician who has treated auto drivers with respect. We have been with him from the very start and we are now identified with the party. For us, he is like our family," said Ramjeet, an auto driver.
Also present at the rally were e-rickshaw operators and UPSC aspirants who are protesting against the language bias in the preliminary examination.
Updated Date: Aug 03, 2014 19:19 PM