As he walked the last few steps, his pace seemed to quicken. Waiting for him was the black Toyota Innova he uses for campaigning.
Blocking his path were a horde of cameras and microphones, jostling for Arvind Kejriwal’s attention. He was dressed as always in a blue muffler and a red sweater. But his demeanour was one of purpose. Thursday was the last push in an exhaustive campaign, but 48 hours of work was still left.
His car set off at 10.30 am from his home in Kaushambi in Ghaziabad. Three hours later, his convoy had stopped at five places in Kejriwal’s New Delhi constituency. But there was a method to the madness. High income neighbourhoods were avoided. The cavalcade went to Kashmir House on Rajaji Marg, took a turn just before the gate and made for an alley behind. At South Avenue, Kejriwal headed straight for a low income cluster behind the houses of politicians.
Whenever he alighted from the car, he was ambushed by supporters and Kejriwal asked for the enthusiasm to be translated into votes. He had learnt the nuances of interacting with people. Many came with their cameras, asking for a selfie and he obliged them all.
He picked up toddlers and hugged the elderly. In a marketplace at B K Dutt Colony, he was swamped by women who said excitedly, “Dekho, dekho, celebrity aaya hai.” But even in a constituency from where he had won by a comfortable margin against former CM Sheila Dikshit, Kejriwal would have gained solace from what they said next. As he recounted his party’s work, a group struck up a chorus “Maante hai (We believe you).”
He said, “Toh is baar bhi vote dijiyega,” he said. “Vote toh aapka hai ji,” they answered.