Appealing to the people of Gujarat to give the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) a chance and accusing the ruling BJP of being arrogant, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his Punjab rival Bhagwant Mann conducted a roadshow in Ahmedabad on Saturday. Overwhelmed by their party’s landslide victory in Punjab, AAP leaders vowed to “end corruption” in Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, where assembly elections are scheduled for later this year.
Kejriwal, the national convener of the AAP, and Mann set off for a two-kilometer road show, dubbed the “Tiranga Pride Journey”. Gujarat AAP leaders Isudan Gadhvi and Gopal Italia, standing on top of a truck transformed into what looked like a ‘chariot’ (chariot), virtually started the party’s election campaign. Kejriwal, who arrived in the city early in the morning on a two-day visit to Ahmedabad with Mann, said he was not here to defeat the BJP or the Congress, but to win the state and its people and end corruption. “You have given them (BJP) 25 years, now give us a chance. You gave a chance to AAP in Delhi and Punjab, now give us a chance in Gujarat and 6.5 crore people (of the state) together. The state will move forward,” Kejriwal said. He told the cheering crowd at the end.
“The BJP has been ruling the state for more than 25 years and yet they have not been able to end corruption. The 25-year period is too long,” he said. After being in power for more than 25 years, the BJP has become “arrogant” and does not listen to the people, the Delhi chief minister said.
“Give the AAP a chance. If you don’t like it, change it,” he added. In Delhi, he has improved the condition of schools and hospitals, put an end to corruption and made electricity-free and available for 24 hours, he said. Mann ended corruption in Punjab within 10 days of becoming chief minister, instructed private schools not to raise fees and announced a recruitment drive to fill 25,000 vacancies, Kejriwal said.
“I don’t know how to do politics. But I know how to end corruption. We have ended corruption in Delhi, where you no longer have to pay bribes in government offices. In Punjab, Bhagwant Mann has ended corruption in ten days,” he said. Mann said the AAP was ready to replicate in Gujarat what it had achieved in Delhi and Punjab.
“The AAP has emerged from a revolution, and we do not condone corruption. Wherever there is corruption, the people are picking up the ‘broom’ (broom, the party’s election symbol) … this corruption and arrogance must be eradicated,” he said. The Punjab Chief Minister referred to the recent incident of leaking a paper during the government recruitment test in Gujarat and said that the leak was not limited to question papers only.
The road show starts from Nicole’s Khodia Mataji Temple, where the two leaders seek the blessings of the goddess. Earlier, Kejriwal and Mann visited the Sabarmati Ashram and paid homage to Mahatma Gandhi. Large numbers of AAP activists and supporters crowded the streets holding tricolors in their hands and marching with the ‘chariot’ in loud cheers amidst patriotic songs played by the music system. The roadshow is seen as a show of strength by the AAP, which seeks to provide a new alternative to Gujarat, which has seen a two-cornered rivalry between the BJP and the Congress over the past few decades.
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