AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal, who has vowed to put up a strong fight against BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, on Tuesday landed here amid strong protests from the BJP supporters.
And the AAP poster boy’s 10 km-long road show, which took place under heavy security, witnessed an ink attack as well as a black flag demonstration by his political rivals.
Despite the hype, Kejriwal’s public meeting at the Beniabagh Park turned out to be a major disappointment in terms of crowd numbers, which was way below the expectations of the organisers. Also, it was mostly attended by outsiders from Delhi, Haryana and the holy city’s neighbouring areas.
Addressing the unimpressive gathering, the AAP leader lashed out at Modi saying that had the latter been a “vikash purush”( icon of development)in the fullest sense, he would have backed Modi. But after visiting Gujarat, he found that there was no major difference between the functioning of Manmohan Singh and Modi.
“Those who would vote for Modi would repent. He would take away the land of the farmers to give it to the traders and compel the farmers to commit suicide. Small traders would starve as the big business houses would gobble up their trade,” he said. Reacting to the charge that he was a political deserter, Kejriwal said there was no truth in it. “Following a railway accident, then Union Minister for Railways Lal Bahadur Shastri had resigned, would the BJP call him a deserter. Lord Rama went into exile for 14 years, would the BJP call him so?” he sought to know.
He also asked the gathering whether they had ever come across the BJP workers showing black flags to Sonia Gandhi or the Congress rank and file doing the same to the BJP top brass.
Unfazed at the hostile welcome Kejriwal, while reiterating his intention to contest here against Modi, challenged the BJP PM candidate to a public debate on national issues. In political terms, Kejriwal’s decision to challenge Modi in Varanasi is a well calculated and deft move. The holy city is not only known for its religious quotient, its spiritual and educational contributions have received international acclaim. More importantly, from the election standpoint, the Benaras Hindu University (BHU) and the Sanskrit Vidhyapeeth, apart from dozens of degree colleges of boys and girls are a readymade support base for the AAP.
And Kejriwal is aiming to reinforce his image as a giant killer,who had managed to defeat the then Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit by a margin of over 25,000 votes.