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‘Blusukan’ essential
to Jokowi’s bid

Democrat blues: Democratic Party supporters participate in a rally on Saturday at Cempaka Putih Sports Stadium in Central Jakarta. Despite having many of its members implicated in various corruption cases, its supporters say they still have faith that the ruling party will do well in the upcoming general election. (JP/Jerry Adiguna)
Democrat blues: Democratic Party supporters participate in a rally on Saturday at Cempaka Putih Sports Stadium in Central Jakarta. Despite having many of its members implicated in various corruption cases, its supporters say they still have faith that the ruling party will do well in the upcoming general election. (JP/Jerry Adiguna)

Eating bakso (meatballs) at a traditional market, enjoying street food and buying socks at a department store were among the blusukan (impromptu visits) carried out by Jakarta Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, the Indonesia Democratic Party of Struggle’s (PDI-P) presidential candidate, on his campaign trail in Lampung over the weekend.

The governor did not waste a second of his time in Lampung, a stronghold of the PDI-P, going straight to a local market near the hotel he was staying at in the province’s capital, Bandar Lampung, on Friday evening for dinner.

Within seconds of his arrival, a crowd of people gathered, hoping to get a glimpse of the popular presidential candidate.

Jokowi, who was accompanied by local PDI-P members, even offered to buy them dinner, to which a resident answered “just give me the money”.

After finishing his dinner, Jokowi continued his journey to a nearby shopping mall and went straight to the men’s department to buy three pairs of socks and a white shirt. “I didn’t have enough socks so I wanted to buy some,” he said.

Knowing Jokowi was at the mall, visitors grew ecstatic and rushed toward him, all attempting to take a picture with him or shake his hand.

Some of the ladies frequently shouted, “Pak Jokowi, please become president!”

On Saturday morning, Jokowi had breakfast with a group of young Netizens while answering their questions — mostly on leadership and future presidency.

Jokowi provided hints about his priority programs should he be elected president. “I want to focus on developing agriculture. We should not only focus on harvesting but also on post-harvesting. We have to build from the upstream to the downstream, including building the industry and creating the market,” Jokowi said.

Jokowi also gave a positive response to a participant’s suggestion to improve the quality of education in the country, saying he would introduce a “talent management” concept, in which students would be guided and nurtured to develop their interests and talents.

“We should start sending talented young people to study abroad again. We haven’t done that in the past 10 years,” he said.

Jokowi and his entourage, which included Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo, later went to Lampung Tengah regency and stopped by a traditional market near the open campaign site to enjoy a bowl of bakso.

Vendors suddenly rushed, leaving their kiosks as they realized who had just arrived in their neighborhood.

A woman even went hysterical, bursting into tears. “Pak, I really am a big fan of yours,” she said repeatedly.

Rismanto, a vendor at the market, never expected to see him in person. “He looks exactly like he does on TV,” he said.

When asked what he expected of a president, he said, “I just expect to have a humble leader.”

Jokowi encouraged party supporters to ensure the PDI-P’s victory during the legislative campaign, slated for April 9. “Let’s make Lampung red. Let’s make all of Indonesia red!” he shouted, to a cheering audience. Red is the trademark color of the PDI-P.

He then explained to the supporters that, “my presidency will be of no use without a solid legislature”.

Meanwhile, other major parties, such as the Democratic Party and the Golkar Party continued their campaign trails across the archipelago, with the former campaigning in Makassar, South Sulawesi and the latter in Jombang, East Java on Saturday.

In Makassar, the Dems executive board (DPC) planted 55 trees at Hertasning field, instead of conducting a rally. “The Democratic Party wanted to give Hertasning field more shade by planting the 55 trees,” the election campaign team head of the party’s South Sulawesi branch, Nur Ihsan Ahmad Jaya, said on Saturday as quoted by tribunnews.com.

Golkar, meanwhile, campaigned in Jombang on Saturday, in which Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Sharif Cicip Sutardjo, who is also the party’s deputy chairman, was supposed to participate.

However, the minister was rushed to the emergency room of the Jombang Regional Hospital (RSUD) after he fell during the inauguration of the board members of the youth wing of the country’s largest Muslim organization,
Nahdlatul Ulama, Gerakan Pemuda (GP) Ansor. The event was held in the courtyard of Pesantren Tinggi Darul Ulum University (Unipdu) in Jombang.

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