Mumbai: AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal today kicked off his Lok Sabha campaign in Maharashtra with a ride on a suburban train here that was marked by chaos and vandalism amid multiple complaints of discomfort to commuters.
Workers of Aam Aadmi Party(AAP) were accused of vandalising station property after metal detectors were damaged during the chaos at the Churchgate station where Kejriwal rode by train from Andheri.
There was chaos at Churchgate station on Kejriwal’s arrival. The AAP leader earlier took an auto-rickshaw ride.
Welcomed by a crowd of AAP activists, the former Delhi Chief Minister stepped out of the airport and hailed an auto rickshaw along with two other senior party leaders. There was a large media contingent and a significant police presence at the airport.
A contingent of police personnel, media persons and party activists trailed the auto rickshaw over the entire five-km distance till Kejriwal alighted near Andheri station.
The AAP Chief then boarded the city’s lifeline Mumbai local, to travel to Churchgate station in south Mumbai.
As he alighted, a crowd greeted, cheered and virtually mobbed Kejriwal, who was clad in a skyblue shirt with sleeves partly rolled up, his trademark AAP cap and dark trousers. Kejriwal acknowledged their greetings by raising his hands.
Metal detectors at the Churchgate station were toppled in the heavy rush as AAP workers made their way out.
Among the crowd was also a group of youths who showed black flags to Kejriwal as he was leaving the station.
They said they did not belong to any organisation but were students who were protesting against Kejriwal’s alleged “media management” as seen in a leaked video of him on YouTube in which he appears to tell a news anchor to highlight parts of his interview.
Reacting on the damage to property during Kejriwal’s arrival, Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil said the state government will assess whether the damage done today is accidental or purposely done and take action accordingly.
“Wherever law has been flouted action will be taken. Political parties should think while organising such march(es). In a city like Mumbai, it causes immense discomfort to commuters,” Patil said.
Patil also said there is law in Maharashtra which says that cost of damage done to public property shall be recovered from those who are responsible.
Meanwhile, passengers trying to board the slow local from suburban Andheri to Churchgate faced inconvenience as Kejriwal got into the train along with his senior party colleagues and AAP workers.
Later, Kejriwal took out a ‘Jhaadu Chalao Yatra’ through Mumbai streets along with AAP Lok Sabha nominees Medha Patkar and Meera Sanyal.
Kejriwal also attended a private fund-raising meeting, after which he began another road show traversing south Mumbai.