Lok Sabha Polls: Modi, Gandhi address public as political fervour envelops Delhi

- May 18, 2024
| By : Patriot Bureau |

PM Narendra Modi and INDIA bloc leader Rahul Gandhi attend rallies in North East and North West districts respectively as supporters turn up from all corners of the Capital to catch a glimpse of their leaders

BJP supporters at PM Modi's rally

by Kushan Niyogi, Saurav Gupta, Pankhuri Jha

As the political fever in Delhi reaches a crescendo, a vibrant hue of saffron and green enveloped parts of the national capital on Saturday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi became the talk of North East Delhi as he addressed his maiden rally in the constituency.

Just half an hour’s drive away, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also held a massive rally at the Ramlila Maidan in Ashok Vihar. Along with Gandhi, all three party’s candidates from Delhi — Kanhaiya Kumar, JP Aggarwal, and Udit Raj — were also present at the rally.

The excitement was palpable among voters who were drenched in dust and periodically gulped from sealed glasses of water.

The Ramlila Maidan echoed with chants of “Rahul, Rahul”.

Congress workers at a rally at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan, where Rahul Gandhi addressed the crowd

Supporters were continuously chanting slogans like “Hamara neta kaisa ho, Rahul Gandhi jaisa ho (Our leader should be like Rahul Gandhi)” and “25 tarik ka din hoga, haath chunav chinh hoga (On 25th of May, Hand will be the election symbol). People were seen wearing caps of the INDIA alliance, with half the strap yellow and blue symbolising AAP, and the other side tri-coloured, symbolising Congress.

As soon as Congress leader Rahul Gandhi made his entrance, the whole crowd stood on their feet to welcome him, and the continuous chants of “Rahul, Rahul” enveloped Ashok Vihar.

Ansari (55), a resident of Okhla, came barefoot from the nearest metro station to attend the huge gathering along with his wife and children.

“We all are very excited to see our leader Rahul. This time the INDIA alliance is going to win all the seven seats in the national capital and they will resolve all the issues of the Delhiites,” he said.

Shaheen, a 42-year-old resident of Sarai Rohilla, said that in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, people of the national capital have made up their minds to give power to the INDIA alliance.

Congress supporters

“In this scorching heat, we are coming to show our children a glimpse of the soon-to-be PM Rahul Gandhi,” she said.

“The leaders with the hand symbols are coming to meet the people of the city. This is a huge moment for us. They have done so much for the people of Delhi, like building roads and providing houses. They are the ones that gave Delhi the shape it is in today,” said Kajal, a resident of Lado Sarai.

Modi’s supporters

Among the PM’s supporters in Ghonda was 40-year-old Aproj Ansari from Gujarat’s Ahmedabad.

“The excitement here is too good to be true. I came here to Kartar Nagar to visit a friend and then I got to know that Modi was coming here. I never got to see him in his home state, but today I did. I have never seen such a crowd at any political rally,” he said.

40-year-old Aproj Ansari from Gujarat’s Ahmedabad

The older voters, who had seen democracy change hands through the years, expressed their surprise at the overwhelming turnout.

Sitaram, an 84-year-old voter from Karawal Nagar, was thrilled to see the Prime Minister turn up.

“The turnout just speaks for the work that the BJP has done here. However, in my 84 years of life, I have never seen a PM come to my area. This is the first time anybody has come here; otherwise, MPs keep coming and going,” he said.

Anita Chaudhary from Lado Sarai said, “There are three key topics of the rally in Delhi right now. The first is the topic of unemployment, which can only be resolved if the youth that spends most of their time on social media put their efforts into working towards a brighter future for the nation.”

Sitaram, an 84-year-old voter from Karawal Nagar

She emphasised the need to eradicate caste and creed-based discrimination from social norms and encouraged the younger generation to follow the spirit through which India gained independence.

“The zeal among the young generation is very important for the upliftment of our society,” she added.

She also highlighted how the Congress government has played a crucial role in empowering women across the nation.

Jaimala from Narela stated, “We all will come forward and vote for the right candidate. Our community voting pattern and choosing the best one is associated with our dreams, and challenges we want to overcome as citizens of India.”

Not as good as in the past

A local BJP worker, DP Verma, 67, said that the 2014 rally was much bigger and better despite Modi not addressing it, adding that the organisational manpower had weakened in the Ghonda assembly in North East Delhi.

People waiting for PM to land

Harilal Das, a 72-year-old from North East Delhi, illustrated that only those who love the party (BJP) had arrived.

“Only those who love the party are here; otherwise, why would anybody else come to a party gathering?” he said before adding, “Either way, who would have thought that Modi would show up here in the middle of nowhere and so many people would show up?”

Another 70-year-old seated next to him, Lucky Chand, added that it was not just a rally but a festival.

“Looking around, all I can see is people having fun, trying to catch a glimpse of Modi. There are percussionists and musicians entertaining people in the rows at the back. I have never seen anything like this,” he said.

Even first-time voters were taken by surprise, most of whom were making their maiden appearance at a political rally.

Jatin Dewal, 18, is set to appear for his second semester exams in a few weeks’ time, but this was too good an opportunity to miss.

“I have never seen any major neta in my life, and when I got to know that the PM would be coming, I could not help but come here. This will also be my first vote,” he said.

Dewal had come to the location with his 17-year-old brother.

Abhishek Sharma, another first-time voter from Karawal Nagar, also exhibited excitement at being able to see such a major rally firsthand.

“Earlier, my parents had been to the Shastri Park rally in 2014 when a lot of big ministers had come. At least now, I can brag to them about this rally,” he said.

Female voters also filled up a major chunk of the attendance, with Kalpana Kumari, 27, gushing about the rally.

The voting for the Lok Sabha elections in Delhi will take place on May 25

However, the lack of female representation irked her.

“The fact that the PM has come here is amazing. Honestly, I don’t have much interest in politics, but his presence made me travel all the way. I would have liked it better if they had gotten a female MP candidate to come here too, and not just Harsh Malhotra and Praveen Khandelwal,” she said.

A few female voters added that they had been asked by their employers at Shastri Bhawan to attend the rally.

Delhi is set to witness a fierce battle between the incumbent BJP and the INDIA alliance. The national capital is slated to vote on May 25, and the result is scheduled to be declared on June 4.