The much talked about dinner with Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal at Bangalore on Saturday had around 200 people attending it. While the event, according to the AAP, was a fund raiser, many felt that it was an extended version of Kejriwal’s speech which they have been hearing all these days.
Corruption, Congress, Narendra Modi aside, many in the crowd were eager to know why he had quit as the chief minister of Delhi so suddenly.
While Kejriwal explained to them that it was because of his party’s firm stand on the Jan Lokpal Bill, many in the audience felt that he ought to have stood his ground and governed instead of leaving the battlefield.
The people of Delhi had given you a chance to rule and the job ought to have been completed, many in the crowd felt.
For the Aam Admi Party it was more important to raise funds through this dinner for their election campaign. In all the estimated amount that was collected was Rs 40 lakh through cheques.
The 200 persons who attended the dinner handed out cheques of Rs 20,000 each. Many had handed out the cheques thanks to V Balakrishnan, the former Infosys director who quit his job to join the AAP, and is contesting from the Bangalore North Lok Sabha constituency.
“He enjoys a lot of good will in the IT industry and it was due to him that we attended the event and decided to contribute,” said one of the persons who attended the dinner.
While it was being touted as the “Rs 20000 dinner”, the fact was that each plate cost Rs 650. There was both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food, but alcohol was strictly off the menu.
All those who attended the dinner were given a docket which spoke about how the AAP would change politics in the country. It also spoke about its economic implementations.
At the venue there were around 30 round tables which seated 8 to ten persons. The dinner hall had posters of AAP and also Kejriwal.
While some of the attendees were extremely happy with Kejriwal, others insisted that there was nothing new that he offered. Balakrishnan the host was however pleased with the event and said that everyone was happy.
Apart from several questions about his resignation as Delhi CM, others wanted to know what Kejriwal could offer for Bangalore if his candidates were elected and the party did not come to power at the Centre. Kejriwal said that a change needs to be initiated and that could be done only by voting for a change.
“An alternate to the Congress and the BJP is necessary and this is the best way to start. An MP can do a lot even if his party is not in power at the Centre”, Kejriwal told the audience.
AAP workers, however, later pointed out that some of the questions that were asked cannot be termed as disgruntlement.
“Kejriwal has a good trait in him and he does not mind being criticized. He answered each and every question with honesty. Although some were uncomfortable with his style of functioning as the Delhi CM, at the end of it they left the venue happy which is more important. Each one of them wants a change and they felt that AAP would provide that platform”, a supporter told Rediff.com.
During his interaction, he was also asked about the contest he is planning with Narendra Modi. Kejriwal said that it is not finalised as yet and they will wait till all the candidates were announced. This statement was however made before the BJP announced Narendra Modi’s candidature from Varanasi.
Several others had specific questions regarding how he planned on weeding out corruption. “While Kejriwal was honest with his replies, we somehow felt that his primary focus was only Delhi and his plans for the rest of the country did not appear to be concrete and conclusive. However, what we felt that he has the right intentions, but there is still a long way to go”, commented another dinner attendee.
However, there were some who also felt that he speaks more than he does and it is time he implemented what he conveyed.
Another topic that came up for discussion was his outburst against the media. He said that some were corrupt in the media and they would be investigated and sent to jail.
AAP workers said that this event is a first of its kind. It speaks about transparency in election funding. All parties must come forward and have such transparency, Prithvi Reddy, convenor of the party, informed.
All the details of the money collected will be uploaded on the website, he said.