Press Release 13th March 2014
Overwhelming Support for Arvind Kejriwal in Mumbai #KejriwalInMumbai
Arvind Kejriwal received a tumultuous response on his Mumbai visit on 12th March 2014. The people of Mumbai displayed such zeal to meet Arvind Kejriwal and all across the city, from local train travelers to South Mumbai residents to the residents of Shivaji Nagar, Mumbaikers greeted him with open hearts. Aam Aadmi Party is overwhelmed with the response and is confident that the common people of Mumbai, are ready to sweep in a change with the ‘Jhadu’, just like Delhi.
It all started at 10.15 am on a busy Wednesday, when Arvind Kejriwal and his party workers took an auto rickshaw from Santacruz airport and then travelled to Churchgate by local train. Arvind chose to take public transport as there was paucity of time and could not afford to get delayed due to the road works at Santacruz. The auto rickshaw drivers, the commuters all got a chance to interact with Arvind and he got a change to understand their woes. The next halt was in South Mumbai where he interacted with Meera Sanyal’s supporters who were from the business and corporate community. The Road Show began at 2pm from Nana Chowk with an overwhelming response and continued through the streets of Nagpada ending at Khilafat House. All of Mumbai poured out on the streets to meet Arvind and the Mumbai AAP Candidates, Meera Sanyal, Medha Patkar, Mayank Gandhi.
The next round of Road Show was in North East Mumbai, through the slums of Mankhurd where Arvind Kejriwal and Medha Patkar paid homage to Anna Bhau Sathe, through Shivaji Nagar, to Ramabai Nagar where they paid respects to Babasheb Ambedkar’s statue ending with a large Jan Sabha at Kanamwar Nagar, Vikroli in which he inspired volunteers and supporters by his clear vision and determination.
The Misreported Chaos
The volunteers had planned a flawless exit from the airport and into the train which got totally derailed due to the media frenzy which the police were ill prepared to control. While we understand their pursuit of exclusive visuals, we are afraid that the media zeal led to a total breakdown of law and order.
Media clambered all over Arvind at the airport making the police cordon off Arvind Kejriwal and lead him in the wrong direction. When he finally made it to the auto rickshaw, media persons risked their own safety as well as that of others in order to get bites from him, inviting accident. A volunteer took it upon himself to hop in to the auto and field off the cameras to ensure safety. We regret his enthusiasm led to breaking of the law but there was absolutely no police personnel to ward of the chasing cameras. During the journey, we stopped at the traffic light but the police (who finally appeared) forced us to go forward. We would like to state, this was no road show, or event, merely travel from one destination to another and we don’t think that the law requires common people to take permission to travel. The misreporting that we broke some law in this journey is malicious to say the least.
At the railway station once again the police isolated Arvind Kejriwal and forced him into the wrong entrance while a group of volunteers was waiting at the other entrance with full preparation to ensure that other commuters were not disturbed. This led to complete mayhem as there weren’t enough police people to handle the craze that set off on seeing Arvind Kejriwal, many people tried to reach out to shake hands, wish him and the situation became quite chaotic, and finally Arvind Kejriwal saved the situation by climbing a high wall and giving the police some moments to organize themselves. But the chaos erupted once more at the platform where the media onslaught was at its worst and it continued unabated through the journey and at Churchgate. The police tried their best but could not counter the frenzy of the mediapersons. The issue of the scanners at Churchgate has again been misreported. The defunct scanners fell due to the media frenzy and surging supporters, they were down for a few minutes and immediately put back in place by our volunteers, and no damage was caused. AAP is really curious as to what levies will the Honourable Home Minister extract from AAP for a momentary collapse of defunct scanners when he has failed to extract any levy from parties which burn and damage public property on a routine basis.
Further there was a vicious rumour spread by certain channels that we had no permissions for the road show, we had all requisite permission for three vehicles and a padyatra alongside, and that is exactly what we adhered to. In fact we kept reporting all other vehicles to the police, clearly stating that they were not part of our road show, but supporters who had joined on their own will and the police should take whatever action suitable against them.
We state that whatever little disturbances that caused during Arvind Kejriwal's visit, it was due to poor handling of law and order of the overzealous media, who risked public safety in their quest for visuals. We understand their work pressure and we also appreciate their responsibility in keeping the nation alert and awake to the changing political situation, but we strongly suggest that the election campaigns will hot up and there is a need to exercise restraint. We also condemn the misreporting and the pathetic attempts to cover up the tumultuous support given by Mumbaikers to Arvind Kejriwal and Aam Aadmi Party.
Arvind Kejriwal was unable to travel to Chandrapur as planned due to ill health. He has rested and been given the go ahead by doctors to proceed on the Journey this afternoon and depart for Nagpur by the 3.10pm flight. The Chandrapur Sabha will be conducted under the leadership of Anjali Damania along with other state leaders – Raju Bhise, Vijay Pandhare and Pratibha Shinde.
The program for Nagpur on 14th will continue as planned.