Arvind Kejriwal waited for more than six hours at an election office on Tuesday before he could file his papers, on the last day of nominations for the Delhi election. He arrived with his family in the afternoon and left when it was dark out, thanks to a long queue of candidates who suddenly materialized in the final hours. The Chief Minister missed filing his papers yesterday, having been delayed by his roadshow.
66 candidates showed up to file their nomination at Jamnagar House. Mr Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) accused the BJP of sending more than 40 of them just to block him.
"Waiting to file my nomination. My token no is 45. There are many people here to file nomination papers. Am so glad so many people participating in democracy," Mr Kejriwal tweeted at 2.36 pm.
Anyone who made it inside the office before 3 pm would be allowed to file their nomination even after the office closed at 3 pm, officials said. There was no question of Mr Kejriwal not making it. It was only the waiting that got the party's goat.
Waiting to file my nomination. My token no is 45. There are many people here to file nomination papers. Am so glad so many people participating in democracy.— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) January 21, 2020
"BJP planted 45 people in the line before Arvind Kejriwal. The Election Commission is deliberately giving each candidate half an hour or one hour...even those whose papers are not complete or those who don't have proposers," tweeted Mr Kejriwal's deputy Manish Sisodia.
"BJP people, do whatever you want, you cannot stop Kejriwal from filing his nomination or from becoming chief minister for the their time. Your conspiracy will not succeed," Mr Sisodia tweeted in Hindi.
But Mr Kejriwal's tone was significantly milder. "Doesn't matter. Many of them are filing for the first time. They are bound to make mistakes. We also made mistakes the first time. We should hand-hold them. I am enjoying waiting with them. They are all party of my family," he tweeted.
The Delhi Election Office later in the evening said there was no deliberate delay on their part. "For one candidate minimum 30 to 35 minutes are taken to check nomination papers. Being the last day of nomination there was a huge rush of candidates for filing nomination," it said.
The Chief Minister, AAP's candidate from New Delhi, had been late even when he arrived at the office with his family to complete the formalities. He was seen in photos sitting at a table with many candidates and some of his own relatives.
"We will not let Kejriwal enter," one candidate had announced earlier, claiming he wanted to contest as an independent.
"He will have no option but to stand in the queue like all of us," said the aspiring candidate. He alleged that Mr Kejriwal had betrayed him when they were both part of Anna Hazare's anti-corruption campaign.
Another man in the queue said he had brought 30 more with him and they would all file their nomination papers today.
On Monday, he took out a mega-roadshow on his way to filing his papers and missed the deadline.
"I was told I'll have to file my nomination, but I said how can I leave them (his supporters at the road show) and go? I'll go to file the nomination tomorrow," Mr Kejriwal had told reporters on Monday.
The Chief Minister began his roadshow from Valmiki Mandir and drove through the New Delhi Constituency surrounded by AAP supporters waving brooms, the party symbol.
Delhi will vote on February 8 and the results will be declared three days later.