A day after he was released on interim bail, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday held his first roadshow in Delhi.

On Saturday the sitting CM of Delhi, along with Punjab CM Bhagwant Singh Mann led a rally in South Delhi’s Mehrauli area, which is known for its green cover, urban villages, ancient monuments and posh modern areas.

Hundreds of people including Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) cadres gathered in the narrow lanes of Mehrauli and patiently waited for Kejriwal in the scorching heat.

The rally was nothing short of a festive celebration as people danced, waved flags and hugged each other as if assuring that things were going to get better.

There were dhols (folk drums), modern musicians and even folk dancers called by the party workers to set the mood. Women, men and children waved the AAP flags and danced as they waited for the CM to arrive. Many more waited on the roofs and terraces of their houses to catch a glimpse of Kejriwal who was granted bail.

In the corner was 60-year-old Asna Bibi who had come to see Kejriwal. “We are so happy he is out,” she smiled.

She said that she and her neighbours had been patiently waiting for Kejriwal’s release from jail. “From our area all votes go to AAP. Even if Kejriwal would have been in jail, we would have voted for him,” Bibi said.

Mehrauli is dominated by a citadel wall, observation towers, numerous tombs and other historic structures. These reflect that Mehrauli during the Sultanate era was one of the most magnificent and thriving capital cities.

Still holding the glimpses of the past, the area has narrow lanes and houses attached to the monuments.

Meanwhile, Bibi said that even though the locals are happy with the water and electricity supply, lack of hygiene is a major cause of concern. “Sanitation is a major issue here and I hope this becomes an issue in these elections,” she said.

However, Bibi said that the biggest change needs to be the communal hate that has been spread under the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). “We should remove any party that spreads hate,” she added.

Meanwhile, Lakshmi had travelled for an hour just to see Kejriwal. A housewife, Lakshmi said that the roadshow seemed like a celebration. “We support Kejriwal which is why we have come here,” she said.

Holding the AAP flag and wearing the AAP topi (cap), which has become a symbol for the party, Lakshmi along with other women waited excitedly for Kejriwal.

People held posters saying “Tiger is back” and “We love Kejriwal” as the sound of dhol did not end for hours.

Kejriwal arrived almost two hours after the given time and people roared in excitement. Waving to the people, with Maan behind him, Kejriwal wore a huge smile on his face. The people got even more excited and waved back at him, shouting his name, trying to catch a glimpse as the crowds swelled.

Kejriwal held the roadshow in support of South Delhi’s I.N.D.I.A. Bloc candidate Sahiram Pahalwan against BJP’s Ramvir Singh Bidhuri.

The Mehrauli area had seen a series of demolitions the past year, which were stopped on court’s order, and locals also credit the intervention of AAP leaders. Still suffering from the shock and aftermath, there is a lot of anger towards the BJP.

Shabnam stood at one place and looked excitedly as Kejriwal’s car moved towards the periphery. “We are here to show our support and we expect him to win this time. We are tired of this hate politics and want change,” she added.

Meanwhile, before he came to Mehrauli, Kejriwal also addressed his first public rally since his release from Tihar and gave a charged up speech on Saturday.

Immediately after walking out of Tihar Jail on Friday evening, Kejriwal had announced he will participate in a roadshow in South Delhi on Saturday along with his Punjab counterpart Mann.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convenor was granted interim bail till June 1 by the Supreme Court on Friday. He had been arrested in a money laundering case linked to the alleged Delhi excise policy scam.

Surrounded by hundreds of supporters, Kejriwal, who spent around 50 days in jail, targeted Prime Minister Narendra and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and warned that all major Opposition leaders would be in jail if the BJP won the Lok Sabha polls.

Here are some of the key highlights from his speech on Saturday: “I am coming straight from jail to you. It feels great to be with you after 50 days. I just went to Hanuman temple with my wife and (Punjab) CM Bhagwant Mann. Bajrang Bali's blessings are on our party and us. It is by his grace that I am among you today…

“Our Aam Aadmi Party is a small party, present in two states. But the Prime Minister left no stone unturned to crush our party and sent four leaders to jail simultaneously. If four top leaders of big parties go to jail, the party ends.

“The Prime Minister wants to crush AAP...PM Modi himself believes that AAP is the one that will give a future to the country...

“...No other party has been harassed to this extent in 75 years. The Prime Minister is saying that he is fighting corruption but all the thieves are in his party…I didn't step down as CM because a conspiracy was hatched to force me to resign on the basis of a fake case…

“Whenever a dictator tried to take over, the people of the country uprooted him. Today again a dictator wants to end democracy…

“I am fighting against that dictator, but I cannot do anything alone. I have come to beg from 140 crore people to support me in saving the country from this dictator.

“The Supreme Court has given me 21 days to travel across the country. Every drop of my blood is for the country.

“In the last 20 hours after release from jail, I talked to poll experts and people and got to know the BJP is not going to form the government. The AAP will be part of the government at the Centre.

“These people ask I.N.D.I.A. Bloc about their PM face. I ask the BJP who would be their PM? Modi ji is turning 75 on September 17 next year.

“He had made the rule that people aged 75 will be retired. They retired LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Sumitra Mahajan.

“If their government is formed, they will first dispose of Yogi Adityanath and then make Amit Shah the prime minister of the country. PM Modi is asking for votes for Amit Shah. Will Amit Shah fulfil Modi's guarantee?”

All Photographs Nikita Jain