New Delhi: Street-vendor Lala was so excited by Arvind Kejriwal's swearing-in ceremony today that he lowered the price of cream rolls from Rs 10 to Rs 5, a decision that was more than symbolic.
Lala, who lives in Ghaziabad, and hawks eatables in the city for his livelihood, was one of the thousands of visitors who poured on to the Ramlila Maidan in a show of solidarity for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
Flashing his inked finger, he said, “'Paanch saal Kejriwal', isiliye paanch rupaiya ka cream roll (‘Five years for Kejriwal, so the cream roll is for Rs 5 also).”
Hem Pal Yadav, a native of Uttar Pradesh's Badaun who sells tea in Old Delhi, decided to come to the venue, “only for Kejriwal”. “I make decent money in Purani Dilli, but today irrespective of how much money I make, I am here only to support the man who has suffered for our betterment,” he said.
Along with Yadav, practically, every hawker in the street, today wore the allegiance to the party on their sleeves by sporting the trademark white AAP cap, bearing the broom symbol.
Some even had carried a flag bearing Kejriwal's image and the party's name and symbol. The pride was writ large on their faces while the excitement in the air was unmistakable. Many among them, who conducted their business elsewhere, today lined the periphery of the Maidan, only to hear the AAP leader speak.
“I belong to Badaun, so my voter card is from UP. But, our votes from our hearts still belong to Kejriwal...I otherwise sell my stuff at India Gate, but I came today only to support my leader, who cares for us poor,” Pal Singh, a poppadum seller said.
Balbeer, a streethawker from Seelampur, who sells ‘kulfi' for a living, also turned up at the venue, but more than selling he was interested in supporting the AAP leader and his party.
“I am so happy, I have decided to lower the price of the kulfis, from Rs 10 to Rs 5. It is an extraordinary day. I wouldn't have missed it for the world,” he said. Ice-cream vendor Shiv Murut, who lives in Trilokpuri and otherwise sells his stuff at Connaught Place, was also excited by the occasion.
“Kejriwal's 49-day government had done a lot of good despite the short time. The extortion had stopped. People had mocked him, slapped him and smeared his face with ink, but today, he has redeemed himself. Today he is every man's hero,” he said.