On Monday night, ‘Paanch saal Kejriwal’, was a hope, a catchy poll slogan that had to be redeemed in full measure the next day. It was what they had worked towards tirelessly for months and they had a night more to go.
The balcony was lined with blue balloons; four LED screens were installed outside the office. One giant banner, of Arvind Kejriwal in his ubiquitous red-sweater hugging an aged man, was spread out behind the balcony. It had a massive title which read, “Janta Ka CM”.
“Exit polls said we are leading. But we weren’t sure if they would be right,” one volunteer said.
They needn’t have worried. ‘Paanch Saal Kejriwal’, Delhi too said on Tuesday.
Morning brought with it a sea of volunteers. By 8 am, one of the party’s in-house entertainers Shehnaz Hindustani took to the stage and made the early leads announcements. “Aapka CM New Delhi se aage chal rahe hai,” he shouted in a loud sing song voice. The gathering crowd shouted back, “Paanch saal Kejriwal”.
It was 8.30 when the screen flickered to life, and by that time, the AAP was ahead by 21 seats with the BJP trailing in 12. Hindustani, though, was reeling off another set of numbers. “Aam Aadmi Party chaalis seat se aage chal rahi hai,” he said.
An hour later, the numbers and the chants began coming together. As Hindustani spoke, the leaders appeared. Reminiscent of the scenes of 2013, Kumar Vishwas took the microphone and began announcing the numbers himself. In the background, Vishal Dadlani kept singing “Paanch saal Kejriwal”.
The dancing began, the paraphernalia emerged. From the terrace, a machine blew petals on to the crowd. The colours came next. When the giant screens showed 60, the brooms emerged. Together, they sang, “Paanch saal Kejriwal”.
Raghav Chaddha, the “always composed” spokesperson in TV studios, took the microphone and said, “Dilli, mazaa aa gaya”.
Earlier in the day, the word was that the man of the day would emerge at 2 pm. But Kejriwal emerged two hours before that, the results already a foregone conclusion. Those next to him included an emotional Ashutosh and a Patel throwing an euphoric Sanjay Singh in the air. Kejriwal spoke for four minutes — his supporters latching on to each word. But it was when Kejriwal introduced his wife to the adoring public that he truly endeared himself to them and the cheers became the loudest. He left soon after, but he was here to stay. “Paanch saal Kejriwal,” was the chant of the day.