Kejriwal delivers speech in Hindi, strikes an 'alliance' with Kerala crowd

Arvind Kejriwal
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal with Twenty20 chief coordinator Sabu M Jacob at Kizhakkambalam in Ernakulam on Sunday. Photo: Facebook/ @AAPKerala

It was indeed an excited yet disciplined crowd that had gathered at Kizhakkambalam on Sunday to listen to Arvind Kejriwal. The Delhi Chief Minister was in the suburban town of Kerala's Kochi to announce his Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) alliance with Twenty20, a political party supported by the corporate group Kitex.

The crowd that awaited him comprised supporters of both the Twenty20 and the AAP from different parts of the district. When they waved their flags up above their heads, it was difficult to identify who belonged to which party for both the flags looked similar – blue in white. Most of them also had their white cloth caps.

Over 50,000 people had gathered at the Kitex Garments ground, according to the organisers who said it was more than what they expected. Some groups who couldn't make it to the venue due to traffic congestion had to sit back in their vehicles and witness the programme.

Arvind Kejriwal
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal addresses a gathering at Kizhakkambalam in Ernakulam on Sunday. Photo: Facebook/ @AAPKerala

It looked like Kejriwal knew the crowd was all obedient. He had come prepared to speak in Hindi, but still he sought the permission of his audience to do so before starting his speech. He asked how many people understood Hindi there. Then as if the response from the crowd was adequate he continued his speech. He apparently wanted to establish a connect with the migrant labourer population in Kizhakkambalam too.

Kejriwal was at his cordial best throughout the speech, heaping praises on Kerala, its people and his host Sabu M Jacob, the president of Twenty20.

At the onset of his speech, someone from the crowd yelled that he loved Kejriwal. And the AAP supremo was quick to respond, “I love you too,” triggering some cheer from the crowd.

Kejriwal's strategy was simple. He listed out the achievements of his party in Delhi and the welfare measures his government has initiated. Then he asked the audience whether they also wanted such benefits or not. For instance, he asked if the people of Kerala wanted free electricity. The answer was an obvious yes.

Kejriwal wanted humility to be the tone of his speech. Hence he didn't take credit for anything. Instead, he thanked the almighty for all he and his party could achieve. Every time, he sounded selfless and unassuming, he earned some claps.

There was some drama in the way he announced the alliance at the climax of his speech. He announced it rather casually and stopped his speech right there, triggering a large round of applause and slogans. Later, after a translated summary of his speech in Malayalam was read out, both Kejriwal and Jacob together unveiled the name of the fourth front in Kerala politics – People's Welfare Alliance.

“This is not an alliance of AAP and Twenty20 alone. This is an alliance of the four crore people of Kerala,” Kejriwal said, sending out his larger message to the state. At Kizhakkambalam, Kejriwal had a fan crowd and it was just happy about everything that he said. It remains to be seen if his party and the new alliance could actually make some inroads into the traditional and rigid political formations in the state.

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