New Delhi, Feb 7:
He was the cynosure of all eyes. As AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal voted Saturday, hundreds descended on the polling centre for a glimpse of the man who could be the chief minister again.
As the AAP leader reached a school in Aliganj in B.K. Dutt Colony in south Delhi, hundreds of residents from the apartment houses waved to him, clearly enthused by his presence.
Young people climbed trees to look at Kejriwal. Many waved to him from balconies and rooftops of their houses in the New Delhi constituency where he created history in December 2013 by routing three-time chief minister and Congress leader Sheila Dikshit.
Policemen who had thrown a ring around Kejriwal had a tough time keeping the crowds at a distance.
Flashing a smile and his voter card, the 46-year-old income tax officer-turned-activist-turned-politician entered the booth and cast his vote, obviously pressing the blue button against his own party’s symbol broom.
Kejriwal, who had rejected police security when he was chief minister for 49 days, needed the security Saturday as large numbers poured out of their homes for a ‘dekko’ of the man.
Policemen struggled to manage the surging crowds.
After voting, Kejriwal – dressed in a navy blue sweater but without his trademark muffler – flashed his left index finger with the indelible ink mark and gave a broad smile.
But as he tried to leave the premises, he found the crowds too thick to break through. He then decided to take the back exit.
“I have never seen such crowds in this area ever. It’s like a celebrity had come,” Sunil Malik, 50, who has been a resident of the area for nearly 40 years, told IANS.
A majority of the residents of B.K. Dutt Colony are clerical staff in the Supreme Court, Delhi High Court, Delhi Police and government offices.
“I voted at 8.30 but have come back just to see Kejriwal,” said a visibly enthused Anita Sharma, 35.
Sandeep Tyagi, another resident, told IANS: “Our polling station has suddenly become important.”
Dozens of journalists covering Kejriwal’s voting were treated to tea and snacks by the residents.
The AAP leader appealed to people not to vote for political parties which give away alcohol and money.
“In my knowledge money and liquor have been distributed to people,” he tweeted. “I appeal to Delhiites not to vote for parties which distributed alcohol, money.”
He also urged people to vote in large numbers.
Kejriwal’s main rivals in the New Delhi constituency are Kiran Walia of the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Nupur Sharma. IANS