Mumbai, March 12:
Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal started his two-day Maharashtra election campaign here Wednesday by taking an autorickshaw from Mumbai airport to go to Andheri station.
Welcomed by a huge crowd of AAP activists, a large media contingent and a significant police presence, the former Delhi chief minister stepped out of the airport and hailed an auto along with two other senior party leaders.
A contingent of police personnel, media persons and party activists chased the celebrity auto over the entire five-km distance till Kejriwal alighted near Andheri station east.
As he alighted, another crowd greeted, cheered and virtually mobbed Kejriwal, who was clad in a skyblue shirt, sleeves partly rolled up, his trademark AAP cap and dark trousers.
The auto fare was Rs.48 for the ride which was paid to the autodriver who in turn was mobbed by the electronic media for his bytes.
Wearing a bewildered expression, Kejriwal acknowledged their greetings by raising his hands and speaking something which was drowned out in the public cacophony, city AAP treasurer Suresh Acharya said.
At one point, Kejriwal even climbed briefly on a wall near the station to give his supporters a ‘darshan’ and then was whisked off by AAP activists inside the railway station.
He climbed the bridge to go to Western Railway Andheri platform No.2 and entered a second class compartment of the suburban train which was as usual full.
Somebody had thoughtfully bought a single ticket for the Andheri-Churchgate commute which Kejriwal completed occupying a window seat, in the 11.26 Andheri-Churchgate regular ‘local’.
All through the journey, Kejriwal dodged the media mikes aimed at his face for bytes as AAP volunteers craned their necks to catch his glimpse and police personnel jostled with the commuters to prevent them from getting too close to the leader.