AAM Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal Monday visited Muslim dominated areas in Amethi, began his speeches with Assalamalaikum, and distributed party’s caps with messages written in Urdu.
Significantly, compared to day one, Kejriwal drew more crowds on day two of his road show for AAP’s poet-candidate Kumar Vishwas against Rahul Gandhi.
In between Warisganj and Jagdishpur, Kejriwal started thus: “You have welcomed me so warmly and given me so much respect, Assalamalaikum and Namaskar.”
In between his public addresses, Kejriwal also got local Muslim leaders to accompany him on the jeep. He, however, didn’t make any specific statement on Muslims and mentioned them along with Hindus, Sikhs and Christians. ‘Naare Takbir-Allaho Akbar!’ was said along with ‘Jo Bole So Nihal-Sat Sri Akal’ and ‘Har har Mahadev!’
In Warisganj, while Kejriwal was wearing the party’s white cap, somebody suggested he wear a skull cap. The AAP chief, however, declined. In Sathin area, he also paid his respects at Latif Shah’s mazaar.
Interestingly, Muslims are largely divided in their support to AAP in this Congress bastion. Hamid, a local in Warisganj, said he has been a Congress voter since long but this time he is willing to give AAP a chance. “Congress has done a lot but Kejriwal comes with a lot of promises,” he said. His friend Sajid Khan said he will still stick to Congress.
In other places, too, where he addressed people, Kejriwal seemed to have had a limited impact. In Jagdishpur, Wasiullah credited Congress for all the development while Sultan Ahmed said “Jagdishpur is dominated by Muslims and we have always voted for Congress”.
When asked why he would vote for Congress, Sultan said “this has always been the way.” Close friends Usman Ghani and Mohammad Rizwan differed on their loyalties. “Rajiv Gandhi gave Amethi its identity,” Usman said even as Kejriwal spoke nearby, “Rajiv Gandhi did a lot of work in Amethi, but Rahul doesn’t even visit Amethi.” Usman’s friend Rizwan nodded to Kejriwal and says his vote is now for AAP. In Munshiganj, M I Khan, introducing himself as an “old Congresman,” said Kejriwal should struggle here first. “They are outsiders, how can we trust them.”