Prime Minister Narendra Modi may have proudly displayed his pet project, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, during Republic Day, but a rally by BJP’s chief ministerial candidate Kiran Bedi three days later in Paharganj left behind a trail of garbage — flower petals, garlands, empty sweet boxes, cracker residue, BJP flags and pamphlets. The street was clean minutes before her arrival.
The rally started opposite New Delhi railway station and went up to Ramakrishna Ashram Marg. Wearing a ‘lotus crown’, Bedi stood on a tempo with BJP’s Karol Bagh candidate Yogender Chandolia by her side. Behind the tempo came a fleet of cars, including Chandolia’s Audi Q7 and a Renault Duster.
Even though Bedi did not speak during the rally because of a sore throat, BJP supporters made up for her by shouting slogans. Hundreds of supporters danced to the tune of dhols and urged people to vote for “bachon ki didi, badon ki didi, sabki didi Kiran Bedi”.
One group of party workers was assigned to shower flower petals on Bedi. People were stationed every 50 metres on the stretch and on rooftops, with bags full of rose petals. Another group was assigned to burst a long chain of crackers every 50 metres before the fleet.
“Why are they bursting so many crackers and polluting the area? We are more interested in listening to what Bedi has to say to us than to see these people dancing and bursting crackers. The whole arrangement is good to grab eyeballs, but on what basis are they demanding votes?” Rohit, a shopkeeper, said.
The rally ended at Ramakrishna Ashram Marg, after which Bedi headed towards Rajinder Nagar for another rally. Bedi’s fleet may have lit up the one-km Paharganj stretch for a while, with foreigners looking at the fanfare in amazement, but it left behind a mess for the residents of Paharganj to clean.