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'Back To Protect Us': In Mehrauli, a Sea of Yellow & Blue To Welcome CM Kejriwal

A day after he was released on interim bail, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal held two roadshows in South and East Delhi.

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Cameraperson: Swagatam Roy

Video Editor: Prashant Chauhan

Vineetha, a domestic worker based out of South Delhi's Mehrauli, finished work early, rushed back home to prepare dinner for her children, and arrived at the Jahaz Mahal, a 16th century monument next to Hauz-i-Shamsi, at around 5:00 pm on Saturday, 11 May.

The 36-year-old was among the hundreds of people who thronged the streets to catch a glimpse of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal who held his first roadshow, a day after he was released from Tihar jail on interim bail.

"I found out that my bhai (brother) had come out of jail and was visiting my area... I rushed from work just to see him. Mera bhai sabki raksha karne ke liye jail se bahar aa gaya...isse badi khushi kya ho sakti hai... (My brother has come out to jail to protect is, there's no bigger joy than this)," Vineetha told The Quint as she clutched the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) stole in her hands.
A day after he was released on interim bail, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal held two roadshows in South and East Delhi.

Vineetha, a domestic worker based out of South Delhi's Mehrauli.

(Photo: The Quint)

A sea of yellow and blue flags, 'I love you Kejriwal' and 'The tiger is back' posters, and flower petals being showered from the terrace of buildings – these were the scenes that unfolded during the hour-long roadshow as Kejriwal and Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann campaigned for AAP's South Delhi MP candidate Sahiram Pahalwan ahead of the 25 May Lok Sabha elections in Delhi.

A day after he was released on interim bail, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal held two roadshows in South and East Delhi.

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, along with Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann in South Delhi's Mehrauli.

(Photo: Varsha Sriram/The Quint)

On Friday, 10 May, the Supreme Court granted the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief interim bail till 1 June in connection with the alleged Delhi liquor excise policy scam that is being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

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'Save India From Dictatorship... Give Victory to INDIA': Kejriwal

Wearing the Aam Aadmi Party's signature cap and blue and yellow stoles wrapped around their necks, party supporters danced to dance beats on the roadshow. 'Dekho dekho kaun aaya...' (See who has come, the lion has come)' and 'Jail ke taale touf gaye, Kejriwal chhoot gaye...' (The jail locks have broken and Kejriwal is free)' reverberated in the area.

A day after he was released on interim bail, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal held two roadshows in South and East Delhi.

Supporters were seen holding 'We Missed you Kejriwal,' and 'Tiger Is Back' posters

(Photo: Varsha Sriram/The Quint)

As Kejriwal, along with Mann, covered a narrow one-kilometre stretch canvassing for Pahalwan, he stopped at Kalu Ram Chowk, from where he addressed the crowd from his black SUV.

Expressing his gratitude to the supporters who eagerly awaited his arrival, Kejriwal said:

"...When they arrested me, I wondered what my mistake was. I am a small man and have a small party... My only fault is that I constructed good schools, hospitals, Mohalla clinics... I gave you free medicines... but they did not give me Insulin for 15 days in Tihar... I am alive because of all your prayers and blessings..."
A day after he was released on interim bail, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal held two roadshows in South and East Delhi.

CM Arvind Kejriwal expressed his gratitude to the supporters who eagerly awaited his arrival in Mehrauli.

(Photo: Varsha Sriram/The Quint)

Over the next few weeks, the chief minister said that he will campaign across the country in his "fight against Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) dictatorship" to save the country's democracy and constitution.

"This is nothing but dictatorship. And the common people have to fight against this dictatorship. I am fighting against this dictatorship, but I need your support..."

Calling it a "turning point in history," Kejriwal added:

"Modi will not form a government in India on 4 June. It will be the INDIA bloc which will form a government and AAP will be part of the government. We will provide statehood to Delhi. All of you should give all the seven seats in Delhi to the INDIA bloc, so that it can become stronger. I promise you that there will be development in the country."
CM Kejriwal
A day after he was released on interim bail, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal held two roadshows in South and East Delhi.

Kejriwal claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wanted to stop the party's work, and termed it "dictatorship."

(Photo: Varsha Sriram/The Quint)

'Kejriwal Is the Main Man of AAP, Will Boost Campaign'

Similar scenes were witnessed at Kejriwal's second roadshow later in the evening in East Delhi’s Krishna Nagar in support of AAP candidate Kuldeep Kumar.

The narrow lane of the Mehrauli market, home to several stores, came to a standstill on Saturday.

From Uttarakhand's Chhaliya dancers and Bhangran dancers, to men playing Kerala's traditional beat with the chenda (a percussion instrument), a huge crowd welcomed Kejriwal and Mann. Among the crowd were several men and women from Mehrauli, Mahipalpur, and neighbouring areas.

Dancing in excitement, Bhagwani Devi, a housewife, said, "I am here to celebrate the (interim) release of Kejriwal ji. He is poor, just like us. He is a common man. He understands our day-to-day struggles and has helped us a lot. Of course, our vote is for him. We will vote out the current government."

Meanwhile, Vineetha told The Quint:

"There's no greater joy for a sister, than to see her brother happy... My brother (Kejriwal) has provided good drinking water facilities and free buses for women. Since he came to power, we have not been thirsty for water... When we vote, we will only look at who has given us the best of services..."
A day after he was released on interim bail, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal held two roadshows in South and East Delhi.

A supporter waves the AAP and Indian flag at Kejriwal's rally.

(Photo: Varsha Sriram/The Quint)

Sahil Goyal, who runs a textiles store, said that he was excited to see such a huge crowd gather in his area in support of Kejriwal. "I am confident that Kejriwal will win in Delhi this time. This is his stronghold, which no other party has been able to beat."

"While I agree that PM [Narendra] Modi will easily win across India, it will be Kejriwal who sweeps Delhi," admitted Goyal.
A day after he was released on interim bail, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal held two roadshows in South and East Delhi.

Vijaypal, who runs a transport business in Mahipalpur, believed that Kejriwal's presence "will further increase AAP's chances in Delhi."

A day after he was released on interim bail, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal held two roadshows in South and East Delhi.

Among the seats where voting is yet to take place, the AAP is contesting four in Delhi, one in Haryana, and 13 in Punjab.

(Photo: Varsha Sriram/The Quint)

"Kejriwal is the main man of AAP... good that he has been released... we welcome the SC order... his arrest is wrong. Are you telling me that the Modi govt is not corrupt? If they really thought that he was corrupt, they should've arrested him before. Why did they do it now? It's just an election gimmick to show that they (BJP) are clean and other parties are corrupt."
Vijaypal, a resident of Mahipalpur, to The Quint

Meanwhile, Rajendra Kumar Sahini, who used to run a kirana store in Mehrauli, believed that AAP was the only party to "work for the development of the people."

"Both BJP and Congress are Brahmin-dominated parties that only indulge in caste politics. But AAP focusses more on delivering to the people. Yes, AAP and Congress are in alliance, but that's due to necessity to beat the bigger evil. I am sure it will only last for this election," he said.

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'Rally Just a Gimmick... Will Not Impact LS Polls'

Just as loudspeakers played AAP's campaign song 'Jail ka Jawab vote se,' a middle-aged man, who did not wished to be named, said:

"Kejriwal ka kam to sabh toh teekh hai. Lekin Modiji ne Ram Mandir banvaya hai. Woh aur maine rakhta hai... (I admit that Kejriwal has done good work [in Delhi]. But Modi built the Ram Mandir for us. That's of more importance)."

While walking the 1-km stretch, The Quint met Congress supporter 73-year-old Bhajanlal taking part in the campaign rally.

"I am here to support my party, which is in alliance with AAP. We will only be stronger together. His (Kejriwal) arrest and bail is the party's personal matter, which I don't want to get into," he said.

A day after he was released on interim bail, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal held two roadshows in South and East Delhi.

An AAP and Congress supporter taking part in Kejriwal's rally on Saturday, 11 May.

(Photo: Varsha Sriram/The Quint)

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Chandraban (66), a resident of Mehrauli and a passerby, was miffed with Kejriwal's presence in his area. "Since he has come to our area, it is our duty to welcome him. But what has he done for the people? He didn't do anything before he went to jail too. Now, he will use jail as an excuse not to work..."

Highlighting the bad road conditions in his neighbourhood, the 66-year-old said:

"We live in filth. Today it is all being cleaned up because Delhi CM and Punjab CM are here. He (Kejriwal) boasts about the work he has done, I would request him to go the road parallel to where he is campaigning and see the conditions...he has come out only to campaign and ask for votes, but truth is no work has been done."
Chandraban

While the SC has let Kejriwal campaign for the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, he is not allowed to visit his chief ministerial office or perform any official duties as it could have "cascading effects" on others.

The release of Kejriwal, who will have to surrender on 2 June, has come as a major boost for the AAP, and the larger INDIA bloc, ahead of the remaining four phases of polling in the Lok Sabha elections. Among the seats where voting is yet to take place, the AAP is contesting four in Delhi, one in Haryana, and 13 in Punjab.

As the rally concluded, The Quint met a few BJP and AAP workers who were arguing about how will win in the 25 May Lok Sabha elections.

Manoj Sharma, a BJP worker from Mehruali said, "Kejriwal getting bail is nothing great. His rally is just a gimmick. They may portray it as though this will increase the AAP's chances in Delhi, but truth is that the BJP has dominated the Lok Sabha seats here for years. The election is to choose the next PM, not the next CM."

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