Ghaziabad, Dec 28: For 61-year-old Kaushambi resident S.K. Shangari, missing an important meeting and the long Metro ride was no big deal, if in the end he got to travel with Delhi’s new Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
“I have an important meeting to attend, but I have already missed two Metro trains. And, I do not regret waiting one bit,” Shangari told IANS.
“Meetings will come and go. But this moment will never come again,” he added.
Busy capturing whatever he could on his phone, Shangari and hundreds of Kejriwal fans and supporters thronged the Kaushambi Metro station as early as 8.30 a.m. to catch a glimpse of Kejriwal, the man who shook the establishment and reshaped the political discourse in the capital and the country.
Kejriwal took a Metro ride from here to reach Ramlila Maidan in central Delhi where was sworn-in the seventh chief minister of Delhi.
Varun Bhardwaj, a 22-year-old engineering student, was also among the hundreds who wanted to be on the same Metro that Kejriwal took to reach Barakhamba Road Metro station in New Delhi. From this station, he rode his car to reach the jampacked Ramlila Maidan.
“I reached the station early, and saw many people already standing. Like me, there were many who wanted to ride in the same Metro. If possible, see him in person or talk or touch him,” Bhardwaj, who had to appear for an examination later in the day, told IANS.
“I voted for the AAP, and strongly support the party and its views,” he added.
Like him, Hemant Kakkar traveled all the way from Janakpuri in east to Kaushambi in Ghaziabad just to be able to join Kejriwal on the Metro ride.
“It was my earnest desire to see him at the chief minister of Delhi,” he added.
“There is no other person like him. I was 110 percent sure that I will see this day (when Kejriwal will become chief minister). I was sure about his victory,” Kakkar told IANS.
Shweta Singh, an 18-year-old student, could not stop gushing at the prospect of seeing Kejriwal.
“I am here just to see Arvind Kejriwal. I do not live in Kaushambi, but have especially come here to travel with him. I hope I get to meet him,” she told IANS. But she did not get a chance. The crowds on the platform were pressing.
Mohit Raj, an employee with a multinational company, especially took leave from work for the day.
“Since morning, I have been at his (Kejriwal) house. I have followed him in my friend’s car, who is a party volunteer, so that I remain close to him. But due to the rush, I got away from the group,” a dejected Raj, a resident of Preet Vihar, told IANS.
While the supporters, party workers and enthusiasts were united when it came to cheering for Kejriwal, they seemed to be divided over security that the 45-year-old activist-turned-politician has shunned — keeping in tune with their ideology of not adhering to the “VIP culture”.
“He might not want the kind of security cover which is given to top level politicians in this country, but he should at least opt for minimum security. Perhaps, he could alter the way security is provided,” Sandeep Chaudhury, 23, an engineering student, told IANS.
Hemant Kakkar, 44, a businessman who also helped Kejriwal during his campaigning in the New Delhi constituency, plans to write to him on taking security measures.
“I am going to write to him, asking him to take security. He may travel like this once in a while, but making this a regular feature is somewhat not feasible,” Kakkar said.
Interrupting him, Sandeep Sethi said this ride was a novelty, and if Kejriwal decided to travel by the Metro, it won’t cause much discomfort.
“It is like this only today, and will not be so if it becomes a regular feature. Imagine the chief minister mingling with the people while going to his office,” he said.