The many faces of the Aam Aadmi: Portraits from Arvind Kejriwal’s oath taking ceremony at Ramlila Maidan

I made it to Ramlila Maidan this morning to witness the historic euphoria as Arvind Kejriwal, the man who reclaimed every joke, every slang and made them his trump card, his campaign headline, ‘The Mufflerman Is Back‘, took oath to the seat of Chief Minister of Delhi for the 2nd time after the landslide victory against prime contender BJP winning 67 out of 70 seats at the Delhi Elections. On 7th February People of Delhi came out in large number to exercise their right to vote, to show the world what the common people can do if they unite. The AAP Tsunami led by Arvind Kejriwal decimated the Modi Wave gripping the nation since Lok Sabha elections in May 2014. How did this happen? Who made this happen? These are the faces who made this happen. The aam aadmi, aurat, bacche, budhe of Delhi.

People from all class, caste, religion, gender and geographical area were seen today shouting slogans and celebrating Aam Aadmi Party’s victory. On the results day one of the first thing Kejriwal said was that “it is scary”. Indeed this kind of faith put by people in one politician is scary. What if he fails?

Kejriwal’s story is really very filmy, much like one of our Bollywood films. A hero who gave hope and failed, betrayed people’s trust, lost everything, every one, but then came back from the dead, rose like a phoenix from the ashes and won back everything.

And oh how people celebrated. Let my camera tell you.

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This man continuously raised slogan, “Hamara Raja kaise ho? Arvind Kejriwal Jaisa ho. Yeh banega hamara Prime Minister” (How should my king be? Like Arvind Kejriwal he shall be. He will be our Prime Minister)

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This man is from Bihar, he is in Delhi since May 2014 and working as a volunteer for Aam Aadmi party

From the day he quit from the Chief Minister post after forming a government for a mere 49 days, Arvind Kejriwal has faced one of the worst smear campaign in recent times. His oppositions called him slang names like Bhagoda (escapist) and Bazaroo (cheap), he was hit, slapped, smeared by ink, his clothing specially the muffler was made fun of. But the man remained graceful all through the campaign. This morning when he took the oath, he said he would take suggestions and opinions from both Kiran Bedi and Ajay Maken the chief ministerial candidates from BJP and Congress respectively contesting against him. When was the last time a politician shown so much grace?

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Narendra Modi gave him the name AK-49 a metaphor for AK-47 insinuating his alleged soft spot for terrorism and naxalism. Kejriwal supporters now have reclaimed the metaphor and turned it into AK-67, sixty seven being the number of seats won by Aam Aadmi Party.

During and after the Lok Sabha elections in May 2014, Modi had gained the status of God in India. People started calling him Yug purush, Vikas Purush, some said he is the latest avatar of Lord Krishna. His supporters would chant Har Har Modi, in the lines of traditional chanting done for Lord Shiva Har Har Mahadev. In fact, this week itself, news of a Modi temple in Gujarat complete with a Modi idol made headlines all over the national media.

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This poster made as a parody of a scene from the epic Mahabharata takes a real good dig at the divine Narendra Modi.
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This got to be my favourite shot of the day, just another petty vendor from the street of Delhi joins the celebrations along with a bunch of young middle class men.

 

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Women, children and senior citizens joined in too…

 

 

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The lower class, urban poor…

 

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…Or the upper class or upper middle class…Kejriwal’s popularity cuts across all demographics

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The Mango Man literally
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People of Delhi has various expectations from AAP. Some want Swaraj…
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Some want a stable government with poorna bahumat (Full majority)
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Young women of Delhi want safety

Ramlila Maidan was full by the time Kejriwal arrived. For those who couldn’t be accommodated inside, several LED screens were installed outside the gates where large crowd gathered and saw the oath taking ceremony while continuously cheering for Kejriwal.

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Kejriwal Shapath Ramlila Maidan-009Eagerly watching the LED screen

Kejriwal Shapath Ramlila Maidan-062Thousands of police personnel worked tirelessly to manage the massive crowd and prevent any chaos.

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And finally one of the AAP MLAs

The entire album containing all photos from the event is here https://www.flickr.com/photos/sanjukta/sets/72157650404798638/

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