Appealing to the people of Gujarat to give the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) a chance and accusing the ruling BJP of becoming arrogant, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his Punjab counterpart Bhagwant Mann on Saturday conducted a roadshow in Ahmedabad. Buoyed by their party's thumping victory in Punjab, the AAP leaders promised to "end corruption" in Gujarat, prime minister Narendra Modi's home state, where Assembly elections are due by year-end.
Kejriwal, who is the AAP's national convener, and Mann set out on a two-km roadshow, dubbed as "Tiranga Gaurav Yatra." They stood atop a truck converted to look like a `rath' (chariot), flanked by Gujarat AAP leaders Isudan Gadhvi and Gopal Italia, virtually starting the party's poll campaign. Kejriwal, who along with Mann arrived in the city in the morning on a two-day visit to Ahmedabad, said he was not here to defeat the BJP or Congress, but wanted to make the state and its people emerge a winner and end corruption."You gave them (the BJP) 25 years, now give us one chance. You gave a chance to the AAP in Delhi and Punjab, now give us a chance in Gujarat, and together with 6.5 crore people (of the state), we will take the state forward," Kejriwal told a cheering crowd at the conclusion of the hour-long roadshow.
"BJP has been ruling the state for over 25 years and yet it has not been able to end corruption. A period of 25 years is too long," he said. After being in power for over 25 years, the BJP has become "arrogant" and does not listen to the people, the Delhi chief minister said.
"Give AAP a chance. If you do not like it, change it," he added. In Delhi, he has improved the condition of schools and hospitals, ended corruption, and made electricity-free and available for 24 hours, he said. Mann has ended corruption in Punjab within 10 days of becoming CM, ordered that private schools shall not raise fees, and announced a recruitment drive to fill up 25,000 vacant posts, Kejriwal said.
"I don't know how to do politics. But I know how to end corruption. We ended corruption in Delhi, where now you do not have to pay bribes in government offices. In Punjab, Bhagwant Mann ended corruption in ten days," he said. Mann said the AAP is prepared to replicate in Gujarat what it achieved in Delhi and Punjab.
"AAP has emerged from a revolution, and we do not tolerate corruption. Wherever there is corruption, people are picking up the `jhadu' (broom, the party's election symbol)….this slush of corruption and arrogance will have to be removed," he said. The Punjab chief minister also referred to the recent cases of a paper leak during exams for government recruitment in Gujarat and said that the leakage is not limited to question papers alone.
The roadshow started from Khodiyar Mataji temple at Nikol, where the two leaders sought the goddess' blessings. Before that, Kejriwal and Mann visited the Sabarmati Ashram and paid tributes to Mahatma Gandhi. A large number of AAP workers and supporters thronged the road holding the tricolor in their hands, and walked along with the `rath', cheering loudly amid patriotic songs being played by music systems. The roadshow is seen as a show of strength of the AAP, which is looking to provide a fresh option in Gujarat which has seen a two-cornered contest between the BJP and Congress for the last many decades.