For hundreds of (AAP) volunteers who had toiled in the cold for more than two months, the brute majority for the party sent them into raptures as they hummed the poll jingle “Paanch Saal Kejriwal” in groups across the Capital.
As the initial trends suggesting a victory for Aam Aadmi Party(AAP) started pouring in, more and more volunteers started gathering outside the party office in a busy locality of Patel Nagar.
From Patel Nagar Metro station where rickshaw drivers, wearing AAP caps and a party flag on their vehicles to the road leading to the party office, volunteers started pouring in when the counting commenced at 8 am.
The mood was totally opposite when the party contested its first Lok Sabha elections last year and there were more media personnel than the volunteers at Hanuman Road office on the day of counting on May 16. The nascent party did not win any of the seven seats at stake in the Capital.
Today, it was a total turnaround as the volunteers savoured every moment of the party’s march to a landslide win.
By 9 am, the results indicated that AAP was heading to a stunning victory.
Having anticipated a better show this time, the party had made elaborate arrangements outside its Patel Nagar office. It had also put out more than three LED screens outside the party office for its volunteers. It had not only decorated the party office with ballons, but had arranged for flowers to be pumped in from the building terrace on their leaders and volunteers to bringing drums and bursting crackers.
Each time the party tally increased, AAP volunteers roared and more crackers burst.
The party office was surrounded by jubilant AAP volunteers of different age groups- from college going, middle-aged and even senior citizens, with AAP caps, Stole and Muffler Man hoodies wielding their party symbol broom danced to the tune of Paanch Saal Kejriwal(Five years for Kejriwal)–a song composed by noted music director Vishal Dadlani, specially for the Delhi elections.
At around 10.30 am when trends showed more than 65 seats for the party, volunteers were getting restless to listen to their leaders. They erupted in joy seeing AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal coming out on the rampart of the party office to address them.
“No one could stop Modi’s victory rath (chariot)…in Maharashtra, Haryana, Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir. But Kejriwal halted it in Delhi,” said Megh Raj Singh (26), a volunteer from Badli.
“We put on the television at 5.30 AM in the morning for the results (unaware that counting starts at 8 AM). Then we decided to come here,” said Satto Sahani (35), a fish vendor residing near Shadipur bus depot, who had come along with his wife.
Even journalists from the foreign media were seen covering the celebrations at the AAP office. “I have an interest in India,” said Daniel Pagani, a freelance Italian journalist residing in India.
There were periodic roars of joy when it was announced that Kejriwal won from New Delhi seat. When television channels announced defeat of BJP’s chief ministerial candidate Kiran Bedi, the roar reached a crescendo.
The other parts of the city saw equally spirited celebrations by AAP supporters.
The sloganeering only got louder, with drum rolls and music joining in as the party gradually coasted to a landslide victory.
The party supporters’ confidence was reflective of the results as even before counting began, they declared in unison that “Kejriwal ki leher” was sweeping across the city.
The supporters had all the prior arrangements for the celebrations: flowers, crackers, sweets and brooms.
While AAP supporters were spread out across the streets in huge clusters holding aloft AAP flags, caps on their heads and sashes around their necks, the glum faces of BJP and Congress supporters got drowned in the crowd.
Contrary to the popular perception that the party’s supporters hailed from the ‘jhuggi-jhopri’, AAP seemed to have managed to go beyond all barriers of class, age and gender.
From 75-year-old Kuldeep Singh, dancing to the beats of dhol, to 10-year-old Hemant, the spirit of victory seemed infectious as they joined the revelry displaying equal exuberance.
Singh, a life-long Congress supporter, was vocal about the reason he preferred the nascent AAP over grand-old-party.
“I was a Congress supporter for years, but I have left them, because I know when Kejriwal comes, he will bring justice to the 1984 anti-Sikh riot victims,” he said.
Sporting an AAP cap, and matching to Kuldeep’s steps was Hemant. On being asked the reason behind his enthusiasm, the class IV boy coyly sung, “Paanch saal, Kejriwal.”
A large number of women joined later in the day when the party had already made its way beyond the half way mark.
AAP’s solutions to her domestic concerns seemed to have paid off, as Swaraj Gupta (50) was seen chanting, “Paani maaf, bijli maaf, Cong, BJP saaf.”
She vouched for Kejriwal on the issue of women security citing an instance when her 23-year-old daughter had taken lift from a stranger, only because it had Kejriwal’s poster on it.
While the AAP supporters rejoiced outside the counting centres across Delhi, very few BJP and Congress supporters could be spotted.
Crackers and colours were all in the air as the AAP supporters danced to the tune of ‘Paanch Saal Kejriwal’.
“I have come here with the hope that Kejriwal will do something. I’m very happy today,” said Rohit Kumar, a differently-abled Std XII student at a Dwarka counting booth.
Jubilant party supporters lifted the winning AAP candidate from Model Town, Akhilesh Pati Tripathi, on their shoulders as he arrived at the counting centre.
Supporters of the party’s youth wing formed the bulk of the crowd in the north Delhi district under which falls Delhi University.
“We worked at the ground level and that worked for us. People were frustrated with (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi and his false promises. We are going to fulfil the promises that we have made in our manifesto,” said Subhash, a member of Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti, which is AAP’s students’ wing.
Many of the supporters, however, struck a note of caution, saying that the days of electioneering were over and the chief minister designate would now have to deliver.
“Kejriwal’s priorities should be containing price rise, dealing with corruption and ensuring women’s safety, besides addressing the water and electricity problems,” said Jai Prakash Yogi, an AAP supporter.