Many at Ramlila Maidan on Saturday had a sense of deja-vu. The calender pages may have turned a full year and a month, but other than that everything else was the same as it was then — the venue, the man they came to see and their faith in him.
Their hopes and apprehensions were best put by Abhishek Chaudhary (26), an engineer from Northwest Delhi’s Swaroop Nagar. “I voted AAP in 2013 because I wanted someone to take on the powers that be. But when he resigned, I felt betrayed and angry. Because he as the CM should not have made just one issue (corruption) the basis for putting in his papers. There were other pressing issues he needed to look at. Yet I had faith in him and wanted him to have a second chance. Now he has that. I hope he does not disappoint us,” he said.
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For many supporters, the journey to Ramlila was the same and yet different. This time, they were jubilant about Kejriwal’s ‘poorn bahumat sarkar’ and more understanding of his decision to resign, thereby becoming the shortest government in Delhi’s history.
Sixty-year-old Bhagwan Lal saw in Kejriwal’s promises an honesty and she decided to firmly stand by till proven otherwise. “I traditionally vote for the BJP, but I decided to support the AAP in 2013. Though I voted for the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls for their promise of development, I again voted for the AAP in the Assembly polls,” she said.
“He is an educated leader and I trust his leadership powers as well as his intentions. We have seen for years how the BJP has been working, or rather not working, in the municipal corporations and how the Congress has been while in power. We should give this new and promising party a chance too,” Bhagwan Lal said.
Shakuntala Devi, who came from Jahangirpuri to the Ramlila Grounds for the second time, said, “There are more people this time certainly. The mood, however, is the same. My husband works as a labourer at the Azadpur Mandi and I have two sons and a daughter. All of them go to school and I fear for their safety. Kejriwal has promised women’s safety and better policing,” she said.
“Kejriwal hai toh Chanakya. He has brains and we have put our faith in him. However, he must be careful to not go back on his promises. Even if he does 50 per cent of what he promised, it will be a huge relief,” another supporter said. His fears reflected Kejriwal’s own when he, addressing a jubilant volunteers outside the AAP office on Tuesday, said, “Inside there is a fear. It is really scary, the majority that the people have given us”.