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Chaos for the aam aadmi as Kejriwal hits Mumbai

Satyanarayan Iyer Rahul Wadke Mumbai | Updated on March 12, 2018

Rallying crowd AAP supporters take out a rally for South Mumbai candidate Meera Sanyal, a former banker, on Wednesday. SHASHI ASHIWAL

Chaos at the Churchgate station (Mumbai) for a glimpse of Arvind Kejriwal.   -  Business Line

Chaos at the Churchgate station (Mumbai) for a glimpse of Arvind Kejriwal.   -  Business Line

AAP leader mobbed as he takes an auto and then a local train

Aam Aadmi Party supporters, the police and some people of the city had a memorable time when AAP convenor, Arvind Kejriwal, came calling to the town. When he came out of the departure gate of Terminal 1A of the Mumbai domestic airport at 10.45 am, party supporters had formed a human chain to escort their leader into an auto. However, as Kejriwal took a small detour media-persons rushed in and out scampering for little space between designer plants and pillars to click him and get a byte. A few anxious camerapersons and reporters also got into the auto reserved for him and had to be told to get down.

Kejriwal took the auto to the Andheri Railway Station and kept telling the auto-driver, Ranjith Kamti, to go slow as media continued to hound him en-route.

“The reporters had to be asked to get down, else they were standing by the sides and the excess weight would have turned my auto turtle,” Kamti later said.

The AAP leader reached the Andheri station rather quickly, in a span of 20-25 minutes, and was mobbed by his supporters at the ticket compound for over 20 minutes. As more and more people scrambled to get a view of Kejriwal, he finally climbed up a compound wall and started waving to a crowd of about 1,500 supporters.

Dressed in his traditional attire, the AAP leader wore a beige trouser and a sky blue shirt, which was left tucked out. He also sported the now regular “Main Aam Aadmi hoon cap.”

Pandemonium prevails

Pandemonium struck when Kejriwal went to one of the platforms of the Andheri Railway station and waited for the 11.26 am slow train to Churchgate. The motley crowd had swelled to over 2,500 at the station, which also included regular commuters on both directions.

The police had to push people back as train started chugging along the platform. Since the train was to start from Andheri, it was empty. As Kejriwal boarded one of the second-class compartments, his supporters and media-persons made a mad rush to get in with him.

Camera-persons climbed the seats and jumped compartments through a narrow opening to click and video-tape Kejriwal. The regular commuters had to face the brunt of most of this.

Opinion divided

People seem to be divided on their perception of Kejriwal taking a local train. A young man in the compartment said, “This is causing so much inconvenience to the common man, who he claims to support.” A supporter retorted to this by saying, “He is fighting for us. Mumbai will tolerate this big crowd today.”

When he reached Churchgate station at 12.20 pm there was almost a riot-like situation with party workers, media persons and fellow travellers jostling for space and trying to catch a glimpse of the party chief.

For 15 minutes utter chaos prevailed at the station. The Railway Policemen, who had not taken positions, made a last ditch attempt to control crowds. For five minutes, Kejriwal could not even disembark from the train due to the crowds. Only when the train started its return journey back to the suburbs that he finally managed to jump on the platform.

Arvind Kejriwal is in Mumbai for fundraising and is holding a political rally.

Fellow commuter Naresh Shah, a Chartered Accountant, wanted to meet Kejriwal at Andheri station but could not meet him due to multiple ring of supporters, who were acting like bodyguards for the leader.

He told this reporter, who was also travelling on the same train that, “Kejriwal portrays himself as an Aam Admi (common man) but he is a Khas Admi (special man) given the coterie of people around him

Eager media-persons and few of his supporters also brought down the metal detector gates at the station. They were found to be working fine later.

Published on March 12, 2014

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