At a late evening campaign meeting on Wednesday to bolster the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate from New Delhi, Somnath Bharti, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal emerged out of the sun-roof of a car. Seconds later, he held his wife Sunita’s hand and ushered her out to greet the crowd.

“I have brought my wife. She stood by me when I was in jail. She will also speak to you,” he told the cheering crowd of supporters.

Sunita folded her hands and made a brief speech. “It is because of your blessings that my husband and our Chief Minister is back with us. If you all want that your CM remains with us. You will have to go and vote... show your strength and press ‘jhadu’ (broom, AAP’s election symbol) button... We will fight together and win this battle”.

Open declarations of affection

AAP sources told businessline that the Kejriwals have not hesitated showing affection in public, something that is not common to Indian politicians. They hold hands together. They hug. And Kejriwal makes open declarations of affection. “Thank you Sunita, for always being there,” he declared on being released from jail.

An AAP leader, privy to the party’s electoral strategy, explained that the move is influenced from US-style campaigns where candidates’ spouses make regular appearances in campaigning.

The Delhi CM is being projected as a complete family man — a son, a husband and a father of two children — for better connect with the ‘aam aadmi’, party sources said.

Kejriwal is often seen touching the feet of his elderly parents or giving a helping hand to them — the respect a son is expected to give elders as per ‘Bharatiya sanskar’, with the AAP ensuring those images are made public.

Family ties

The Delhi CM, however, has refrained from exposing his young son and daughter to politics. His son Pulkit and daughter Harshita are also IIT graduates. AAP sources stated the Chief Minster is holding his children back from politics to avoid an attack from the BJP on promoting ‘parivarvad’ (dynasty).

After he was arrested on March 21 in the liquor policy case, Sunita, an Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer, suddenly popped up in public life. She was seen regularly meeting Kejriwal in Tihar jail and returning at times to convey her husband’s message to the public.

Since then, Sunita has toured outside Delhi too, attending an INDIA bloc meeting at Ranchi.

Kejriwal has, however, stressed that “Sunita has no interest in taking part in active politics.” The idea behind this carefully choreographed show of family ties is to project the Delhi CM as a complete family man during the elections.