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'Jail Ka Jawab Vote Se': At Sunita Kejriwal's Roadshow, AAP Workers Echo Support

Sunita Kejriwal held her first roadshow in East Delhi's Kalyan Puri on 27 April ahead of 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

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Elections
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Cameraperson: Ribhu Chatterjee

Video Editor: Nitin Bisht

Holding a poster of arrested Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, 52-year-old Kamlesh Jain, a homemaker, stood outside a sweet shop in East Delhi's Kalyan Puri, along with her friends Abrisha (35) and Rama (70) – all of whom donned the Aam Aadmi Party's signature cap.

Just as Sunita Kejriwal, the Delhi CM's wife, waved from a car in her first political roadshow in Delhi on Saturday, 27 April, Kamlesh told The Quint:

"Campaign karne aaj Kejriwal ji ko aana tha, likhen yeh aayi hai. Jiska aadmi jail mei ho, usko bahar aana hi padega. Socho, woh kitni dard mei hogi. (It should've been Kejriwal ji who should've campaigned, but she has come instead. A woman whose husband is in jail has no option but to come out. Imagine the pain she must be in.)"
Sunita Kejriwal held her first roadshow in East Delhi's Kalyan Puri on 27 April ahead of 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Kamlesh Jain, a homemaker based out of East Delhi's Kalyan Puri

(Photo: Ribhu Chatterjee/The Quint)

From a sea of yellow and blue flags to 'We miss you Kejriwal' posters and megaphones playing AAP’s campaign song – 'Jail ke Jawab Mein Hum Vote Denge' – these were the scenes that unfolded during the 90-minute roadshow as Sunita Kejriwal campaigned for AAP's East Delhi Lok Sabha candidate Kuldeep Kumar ahead of the voting day for the constituency on 25 May.

Standing through the sunroof of a vehicle, Sunita said, "Your Chief Minister is a sher (lion), nobody can break him or make him bow down," even as the crowd repeatedly shouted the slogan "Jail ka jawab vote sai." (Will respond to jail time with votes).

Sunita Kejriwal held her first roadshow in East Delhi's Kalyan Puri on 27 April ahead of 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

A sea of yellow and blue flags and 'We miss you Kejriwal' posters were seen at Sunita Kejriwal's rally in East Delhi. 

(Photo: Varsha Sriram/The Quint)

“If Arvind is like my son, Sunita is like my daughter. He made water, electricity, and buses free for us. He built good hospitals and has done a lot for senior citizens like me. Now, it is our time to support him. We will stand by them no matter what," Rama said.
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'Will Vote To Remove Dictatorship and Save Democracy': Sunita Kejriwal 

As Sunita Kejriwal covered a one-kilometre stretch canvassing for Kumar with folded hands, she stopped at two points to address the public with a less than five-minute-long speech.

Expressing her gratitude to the thronging supporters who eagerly awaited her arrival, she alleged that Kejriwal’s incarceration was a consequence of his commitment to the welfare of Delhi residents.

Sunita Kejriwal held her first roadshow in East Delhi's Kalyan Puri on 27 April ahead of 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Sunita Kejriwal, the Delhi CM's wife, held her first public roadshow in East Delhi ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

(Photo: Varsha Sriram/The Quint)

"I know you all miss Arvind Kejriwal. They have said they will keep him in jail… they are not even giving him insulin, which he used to take every day. Do they want to kill him? What is he being punished for? For building schools, mohalla clinics, for giving women Rs 1,000 per month and for taking the elderly on pilgrimage? No one will forget him; no one will forget what he has done for them..."
Sunita Kejriwal at a roadshow

She urged people to cast their vote in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in Delhi on 25 May and said, "We will vote to remove dictatorship and save democracy..."

"For one month, they have forcefully put your CM and my husband in jail. No court has convicted him so far. They are saying that the investigation is going on. If the investigation goes on for 10 years, will they keep him in jail for 10 years?" she added as the crowd yelled "Nahi! (No)"
Sunita Kejriwal held her first roadshow in East Delhi's Kalyan Puri on 27 April ahead of 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Sunita's roadshow passed through areas that fall under East Delhi's Trilokpuri and Kondli assembly constituencies

(Photo: Varsha Sriram/The Quint)

Sunita's roadshow passed through areas that fall under East Delhi's Trilokpuri and Kondli Assembly constituencies, both of which have been dominated by AAP since it first contested elections in 2013.

This time, AAP has fielded sitting Kondli MLA Kuldeep Kumar from East Delhi, who was also part of the roadshow. Kumar will be fighting the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Harsh Malhotra. At present, cricketer-turned-politician Gautam Gambhir represents the constituency.

'Bharat Ki Beti... Hamari Beti': Supporters Throng Roadshow

Waving the AAP flag, Rupal Kaur (78) told The Quint, "I am not a party worker, but I am here today to bless Sunita ji. As a woman, it is not easy coming out after your husband is in jail. This shows how they (AAP) put our interests ahead of theirs."

Ever since CM Kejriwal's arrest on 21 March, in connection with the Delhi liquor excise policy case, Sunita Kejriwal has been seen slowly emerging from out of the shadows to assume a bigger role and to give a boost to the AAP’s Lok Sabha election campaign.

Sunita Kejriwal held her first roadshow in East Delhi's Kalyan Puri on 27 April ahead of 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Rupal Kaur (78), a resident of Kondli, attends a political roadshow held by Sunita Kejriwal on Saturday, 27 April. 

(Photo: Varsha Sriram/The Quint)

So far, Sunita has been part of two INDIA Bloc rallies – the first on 31 March, at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan and the second at the ‘Nyaya Ulgulan Rally’ organised by the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) in Ranchi on 19 April.

Many people in Kondli and other areas of Delhi came out to catch a glimpse of and support the CM’s wife on 27 April. Gudi Devi, a resident of North Delhi's Malka Ganj, was one among them.

"My friends and I heard about the rally and came here. We have come here in support of Sunita ji. The women of Delhi are well-aware of what is happening and we know the difference between good and bad. It's nice to see a woman like Sunita ji come out and campaign. Only she understands the pain of losing her husband to jail."
Gudi Devi told The Quint
Sunita Kejriwal held her first roadshow in East Delhi's Kalyan Puri on 27 April ahead of 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Even though Sunita was the one on the ground, Arvind Kejriwal’s name dominated conversations.

(Photo: Varsha Sriram/The Quint)

Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's remark that if the Congress comes to power, it would snatch the ‘mangalsutras‘ of women and give it to ‘infiltrators,' Devi said: "Does he even know the meaning of mangalsutra? He was the one who abandoned his wife... If someone does something to your husband, of course you will retaliate. That's what Sunita ji is doing."

Meanwhile, Aqil Khan, an AAP worker who has been associated with the party since 2014, described Sunita as an "educated, humble and sweet" person.

Sunita Kejriwal held her first roadshow in East Delhi's Kalyan Puri on 27 April ahead of 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

A child waving the AAP flag while riding his bicycle in East Delhi's Kondli area. 

(Photo: Varsha Sriram/The Quint)

"She has had the back of Arvind Kejriwal since he first started. The way he has been arrested in a fake case is unbelievable. AAP has always advocated for women empowerment... Sunita ji is an IRS officer and is educated. Their vision is very high. Till the time, he is released, Sunita will hold the fort at AAP. She deserves to lead the campaign."
Aqil Khan told The Quint
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Even though Sunita was the one on the ground, Kejriwal’s name dominated conversations.

Sachin Gehlot (28), a resident of Gandhi Nagar, said that he took part in the roadshow to speak up against the Kejriwal's arrest and to "save democracy."

"The arrest of Kejriwal is wrong and unconstitutional. India is going through its worst period right now. No one thinks of the poor in the country anymore. We are not speaking about important issues such as unemployment, inflation, education that India is facing. The one person who spoke about them is now in jail."
Sachin Gehlot told The Quint
Sunita Kejriwal held her first roadshow in East Delhi's Kalyan Puri on 27 April ahead of 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal was arrested on 21 March by the ED in connection with the Delhi liquor excise policy case

(Photo: Varsha Sriram/The Quint)

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'No Need for Her To Campaign'

Kuldeep Sharma, who owns a shop in Kalyan Puri, said that he was attending the roadshow for East Delhi Lok Sabha candidate Kuldeep Kumar and not Sunita Kejriwal.

"AAP has several big leaders. I am a big supporter of AAP, I love the work they do. Kuldeep Kumar is a local leader. We can go to him with any problem and we know we will get a patient hearing. But there was no need for her to campaign," he told The Quint.

However, Ram Lal, a long-time resident of Kondli, questioned why AAP was coming to campaign in the area when "no work has been done here over the last few years."

Sunita Kejriwal held her first roadshow in East Delhi's Kalyan Puri on 27 April ahead of 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

An AAP supporter holding a 'We miss you' poster of Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal

(Photo: Varsha Sriram/The Quint)

"What work has Kejriwal done? For the last 10 years, no work has been done properly. Things used to be better before that. When you look around, there has been no development. Look at the roads in Kalyan Puri and Trilokpuri and sewage situation here. When its election time, they just come to ask for votes and nothing else."
Ram Lal told The Quint

Talking about Arvind Kejriwal's arrest, Vinod (68) said, "What ED did was correct. Jo Karega, wohi barega. (You will pay for your actions) Whoever did something wrong, has to be punished." He further termed AAP's campaign as "vote-bank politics."

"Everyone says the same, but the reality is very different. Sunita Kejriwal will come because it’s her job. Her husband is in jail, AAP has no one else, so of course she will come to campaign. They’ve sidelined others and brought her in. Elections are coming and they need to capitalise on that," he said.

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