Chaos for aam aadmi as Arvind Kejriwal takes local train in Mumbai

Chaos for aam aadmi as Arvind Kejriwal takes local train in Mumbai

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Arvind Kejriwal campaigning for the upcoming LS polls in a local train in Mumbai on Wednesday.
Photo credit: PTI

MumbaiArvind Kejriwal's tour of Mumbai on public transport today left his main audience, the common man, reeling from the chaos on a weekday. (See pics)

Since he landed in the city this morning, the 45-year-old has taken public transport with AAP volunteers and security personnel on his trail. Television crew too later joined him.

On the first day of his three-day tour of Maharashtra, Mr Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party parade him through constituencies where its candidates like Mayank Gandhi, Meera Sanyal and Medha Patkar are contesting next month's national election from.

Though his auto and train ride were meant to reinforce that the party stands for the common man, they made things difficult at the city's busy Churchgate station where people jostled each other and metal detectors toppled over in the crush of passengers and media teams.

"They should make proper arrangements for the real aam aadmi," said a harassed commuter. The AAP, however, blamed the police for not making proper arrangements despite knowing Mr Kejriwal's schedule.

In the evening, the police fined the driver of the autorickshaw who took Mr Kejriwal from airport to the Andheri station in Mumbai's western suburbs. (Read more)

After a 48-rupee autorickshaw ride, Mr Kejriwal climbed on to the local train and settled down at a window seat for the 30-minute ride to south Mumbai for a private fundraiser.

As Chief Minister, Mr Kejriwal refused to use a vehicle with a red beacon, or a lal batti car, on grounds that convoys create traffic jams and inconvenience commuters, but critics argue that his train ride caused the same problem at the Churchgate station.

Police sources say the AAP leader had refused to take their advice to go by road and avoid the overcrowded "lifeline of Mumbai".

Mr Kejriwal later held roadshows at the Mumbai south and Mumbai northeast constituencies, where AAP is fielding Meera Sanyal and Medha Patkar.

He addressed a rally in Vikhroli in the evening where Mr Kejriwal said, "People ask me how many seats will we win. I always tell them we will win more than the Congress."
 
After its spectacular success in Delhi, the AAP hopes to corner a decent share of votes in the urban centers around Mumbai in not just the Lok Sabha election, but also the assembly polls scheduled to take place later this year.

Story First Published: March 12, 2014 11:09 IST
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