From a Gwalior resident who had painted slogans praising Arvind Kejriwal on his body to a supporter from Bulandshahr who wore a dual-sided billboard professing his admiration for the Aam Aadmi Party supremo, there was striking display of affection and admiration for the Delhi chief minister during his swearing-in at the historic Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi on Sunday.
IMAGE: AAP supporter wearing ‘Kejripankh’ made out of broom sticks arrive to attend the Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s swearing-in ceremony at Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi. Photograph: ANI Photo
Shatrughna Sahu, president of AAP’s Bihar unit and scores of his colleagues came all the way from Patna to attend Kejriwal’s oath-taking ceremony.
Chandra Bhushan, the Bihar unit’s spokesperson, sported the trademark white ‘aam aadmi’ cap and carried a big broom in his hand.
“We have come to express our support and admiration for our leader and witness him taking oath as the Delhi chief minister. People in Bihar are also celebrating AAP’s win. Loads of sweets are being distributed in my native Araria district today,” he said.
Fandom of Kejriwal, who led the AAP to a scintillating win in the February 8 polls bagging 62 of the 70 seats, was visible as people chose innovative ways to express their sentiments at the venue that was transformed into a sea of colours as the crowd waved party flags and the tricolours.
From the national capital, Uday Veer, a tailor from Gokalpuri in east Delhi attended the event wearing a special ‘Kejripankh’ made out of broom sticks.
“I made this special mayurpankh-styled accessory made of broom sticks as a tribute to CM Kejriwal. I have been following the party since its inception and I am happy that polarisation and divisive politics lost in the recent assembly polls. Love, equality and brotherhood should win, which did,” he said.
Veer, who sported the ‘Kejripankh’ over his pyajama-kurta, sported colourful headgear that had the ‘Acche Beete 5 Saal, Lage raho Kejriwal’ sticker and a party scarf around his neck, besides party badges clipped onto his kurta.
J P Kushwaha, another admirer of the chief minister, came all the way from Gwalior. He had slogans like ‘Jai Hind’, ‘Aap Zindabad’, ‘Shiksha ka Kamal’, ‘Mohalla Clinic’ and the party symbol – broom – painted on his bare chest, back, neck and arms.
He also wore a colourful wig, adding to his unusual way of expressing love and support for the AAP.
“We want a leader like this in our MP too, who talks of development. So, I came here,” he said.
S P Sharma, 42, an AAP supporter, came to the historic venue from Bulandshahr wearing a twin-sided billboard which read — ‘Dil diya hai jaan bhi denge, Ae Kejriwal tere liye; Dilli mey to jeet hamari hay, abhi to dusre rajya baki hayn’.
Sharma and many other Aam Aadmi Party supporters said it was time for the AAP chief to move onto the national political platform and his aim should be to change the country’s politics with his “Delhi model”.
“The 2020 Delhi polls was a victory of ‘kaam’ over ‘kaum’ (work agenda over politics of religion). People who did politics based on ‘kaum’ (religion) have lost the elections. Love wins, and we are here to show our love,” he said.
Mohmmed Yunus, 23, a B. Com graduate from Moradabad, said he was excited to attend the event along with his friend Mohammed Shoaib, also 23.
“In our home state of Uttar Pradesh, religion and caste is being talked about so much since the new government took charge,” Yunus alleged, and said, “politics should have the agenda of development”.
Many supporters in the enormous crowd also waved banners with messages like ‘Love Kejriwal’, ‘We Love You Kejriwal’, ‘Kejriwal Zindabad’ and ‘Lage Raho Kejriwal’. A number of supporters also chanted these slogans.
Kejriwal, in his speech after taking the oath as the chief minister, said he loves people of Delhi and Delhiites also love him.
The event, that took place two days after Valentine’s Day, was full of the symbolism of the day of love. In 2015, Kejriwal’s swearing-in ceremony had coincided with Valentine’s Day.
Ahead of the February 8 polls, many auto-rickshaw drivers had sported the ‘I Love Kejriwal’ slogan on the back of their vehicles to show support to the AAP supremo and his party.
In a near-repeat performance of 2015, the Kejriwal-led AAP retained power in the just-concluded Delhi Assembly polls, trouncing its main rival BJP and completely decimating the Congress in a keenly-watched battle that took place in the midst of anti-CAA protests.