Surrounded by a sea of supporters wearing the sort of white cap that has become his trademark, Arvind Kejriwal, flanked by his parents and top leaders of his party, held a huge roadshow in Varanasi.
The drive-through culminated with him filing his nomination papers for the parliamentary election in which he is taking on Narendra Modi, the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate.
Mr. Kejriwal, 45, whose AAP has declared war on corruption and promised a clean-up of the polity (its party symbol is a broom), emphasised the simplicity of his background to voters.
“I have Rs. 500 in my pocket. I have no money to fight elections. I am going to file my nomination in this old jeep,” he said.
In comparison, he declared, Mr. Modi will flash a helicopter when he arrives to formally declare his candidacy on Thursday.
“Be careful…you may see him only in a helicopter after that as well,” Mr. Kejriwal said, alleging that his political rivals have spent thousands of crores on their campaigns.
Mr. Kejriwal also made a pit stop at a statue of freedom movement leader Sardar Patel, where Mr. Modi is expected to begin his roadshow on Thursday when he files his papers.
In the weeks since he declared that he would take on Mr. Modi, Mr. Kejriwal has tried to replicate all that he did right to post a spectacular performance in his party’s first ever election – the Delhi Assembly polls – in December last year.
He led a minority government for 49 days, resigning abruptly after anti-graft legislation that he had championed was stalled in the state legislature.
The contest for Varanasi, which votes on May 12, has turned the city, known for its spiritual and religious importance, into the political capital of this election. Mr. Modi is expected to lead the BJP to its best-ever electoral performance.
The Congress has fielded Ajay Rai, a lawyer, against Mr. Kejriwal and Mr. Modi.