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Arvind Kejriwal’s Wife Sunita Kejriwal Holds First Roadshow Campaign

52-year-old Kamlesh Jain, a homemaker in East Delhi’s Kalyan Puri, stood outside a sweet store with a poster of arrested Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in her hands. She was accompanied by her friends Abrisha (35), who was wearing the party’s characteristic headgear, and Rama (70).

Just as Sunita Kejriwal, the Delhi CM’s wife, waved from a car in her first political roadshow in Delhi on Saturday, 27 April, Kamlesh told, “Campaign karne aaj Kejriwal ji ko aana tha, likhen yeh aayi hai. Jiska aadmi jail mei ho, usko bahar aana hi padega. Socho, woh kitni dard mei hogi. (It should’ve been Kejriwal ji who should’ve campaigned, but she has come instead. A woman whose husband is in jail has no option but to come out. Imagine the pain she must be in.)”

AAP’s campaign song, “Jail ke Jawab Mein Hum Vote Denge,” was being played over megaphones during Sunita Kejriwal’s ninety-minute roadshow in support of Kuldeep Kumar, the party’s candidate for the East Delhi Lok Sabha seat. The scene included a sea of yellow and blue flags, “We miss you Kejriwal” posters, and more.

Standing through the sunroof of a vehicle, Sunita said, “Your Chief Minister is a sher (lion), nobody can break him or make him bow down,” even as the crowd repeatedly shouted the slogan “Jail ka jawab vote sai.” (Will respond to jail time with votes).

“If Arvind is like my son, Sunita is like my daughter. He made water, electricity, and buses free for us. He built good hospitals and has done a lot for senior citizens like me. Now, it is our time to support him. We will stand by them no matter what,” Rama said.

With her hands folded, Sunita Kejriwal canvassed for Kumar for a km, pausing twice to give a message to the public that lasted less than five minutes.

She thanked the throngs of fans who had been waiting impatiently for her arrival and claimed that Kejriwal’s imprisonment was a direct result of his dedication to the welfare of Delhi citizens.

Speaking at the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections in Delhi on May 25, she urged people to vote, saying, “We will vote to remove dictatorship and save democracy.”

The Trilokpuri and Kondli Assembly constituencies in East Delhi, both of which have been dominated by the AAP since the party’s initial electoral campaign in 2013, were traversed by Sunita’s roadshow.

This time, the AAP is fielding East Delhi’s Kuldeep Kumar, a sitting Kondli MLA who took part in the roadshow. Harsh Malhotra of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will oppose Kumar. Currently serving as the constituency’s representative is cricketer-turned-politician Gautam Gambhir.

Rupal Kaur (78) said, “I am not a party worker, but I am here today to bless Sunita ji,” while waving the AAP flag. It is difficult for a woman to come out after her husband is incarcerated. This demonstrates how the AAP prioritised our needs over their own.”

Ever since CM Kejriwal’s arrest on 21 March, in connection with the Delhi liquor excise policy case, Sunita Kejriwal has been seen slowly emerging from out of the shadows to assume a bigger role and to give a boost to the AAP’s Lok Sabha election campaign.

Many people in Kondli and other areas of Delhi came out to catch a glimpse of and support the CM’s wife on 27 April. Gudi Devi, a resident of North Delhi’s Malka Ganj, was one among them.

Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remark that if the Congress comes to power, it would snatch the ‘mangalsutras‘ of women and give it to ‘infiltrators,’ Devi said: “Does he even know the meaning of mangalsutra? He was the one who abandoned his wife… If someone does something to your husband, of course you will retaliate. That’s what Sunita ji is doing.”

Meanwhile, Aqil Khan, an AAP worker who has been associated with the party since 2014, described Sunita as an “educated, humble and sweet” person.

Even though Sunita was the one on the ground, Kejriwal’s name dominated conversations.

Sachin Gehlot (28), a resident of Gandhi Nagar, said that he took part in the roadshow to speak up against the Kejriwal’s arrest and to “save democracy.”

Kuldeep Sharma, who owns a shop in Kalyan Puri, said that he was attending the roadshow for East Delhi Lok Sabha candidate Kuldeep Kumar and not Sunita Kejriwal.

“AAP has several big leaders. I am a big supporter of AAP, I love the work they do. Kuldeep Kumar is a local leader. We can go to him with any problem and we know we will get a patient hearing. But there was no need for her to campaign,” he told.

However, Ram Lal, a long-time resident of Kondli, questioned why AAP was coming to campaign in the area when “no work has been done here over the last few years.”

Vinod (68) commented on Arvind Kejriwal’s detention, saying, “What the ED did was correct. Wahi barega, jo karega. (You will be held accountable for your deeds) Everyone found guilty must face consequences.” He went on to call the AAP campaign “vote-bank politics.”

“While everyone says the same thing, the truth is far from that. It is Sunita Kejriwal’s responsibility to attend. Since the AAP has no one else but her husband in jail, she will undoubtedly attend the campaign. They have included her while marginalising others. They must take advantage of the impending elections “added the speaker.

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