Standing outside a parking ground at Talab Chowk in East Delhi’s Mandawali, Shyam Kumar (32) smiled as Deputy Chief Minister and AAP leader Manish Sisodia waved at him and flashed a victory sign. Kumar waved back while his five-year-old daughter clapped in excitement.
Kicking off the election campaign, Sisodia filed his nomination from Patparganj constituency on Thursday afternoon. Laden with garlands, he started his roadshow from Badrinath temple in East Vinod Nagar, walked through the narrow alleys of his constituency, and spoke to residents, commuters, traders and school children, requesting them to vote for the Aam Aadmi Party.
As the rally with loudspeakers and flags moved on, the family got back into discussing the AAP and its schemes.
“In jhaadu walon ne school, college, bijli, paani sabka kaam kiya hai. Meri beti sarkaari school me jaati hai jahan ab padai bohot achi hai. Hum bohot khush hote hain ise padta hua dekh kar (This party has improved the conditions of schools, colleges and provided water, power subsidy. My daughter is studying in a government school and I feel so happy to see her study like this),” said Kumar, who works as a security guard at the parking space.
The family of four came to Delhi eight years ago from UP’s Hathras and has been living on the parking ground since then.
Sisodia, a sitting MLA from the constituency, said AAP will beat its previous record and win more than 67 seats in the upcoming polls. Delhi has 70 Assembly constituencies.
“My nomination is about the future of education of Patparganj and Delhi’s children, people’s health and electricity, water in their homes,” he said, adding that the upcoming elections would be based on the work done by the AAP government in the last five years.
Slogans of ‘Lage raho Kejriwal’ reverberated as Sisodia passed through the residential colonies along with his wife. Residents peeped from their balconies, traders came out of their shops and commuters waited as the leader walked through the lanes. Every 15 minutes, the gathering stopped and a group of volunteers quickly got into position to perform a flash mob.
Sitting on chairs and draped in shawls, Raj Rani (80) and Sumitra Devi (65) watched as the rally moved swiftly outside their house. Pointing at Sisodia, they said: “Party nahi pata, hum to ise vote denge. Park banwaya hai hamare liye (We don’t know the party but we will vote for him. He has built a park for us).”
After walking the lanes for a few kilometres, Sisodia hopped on to a car and the footmarch turned into a bike rally.
The rally also covered affluent areas such as Nirman Vihar and Preet Vihar. As the roadshow entered Preet Vihar, a stream of students heading home after school walked up to him. Shouting out his name, some shook hands, others handed him a pack of chocolates. Smiling at the children, Sisodia told them to get home safely.
“All the schools and colleges in Delhi have completely transformed; all this has happened because of Sisodia sir. We feel proud to have him as our Education Minister,” said Dolly, a polytechnic school student.
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