New Delhi, India (CNN)By the time Rahul Gandhi arrived at his election rally in New Delhi, the bare piece of land which is otherwise used during Indian festival celebrations resembled a dust bowl.
The problem with Modi: Indian voters explain why they're with the opposition
Dust hung heavy in the air on Thursday as thousands poured in to hear the promises of the president of India's main opposition Congress Party. Young boys draped in the standard Congress colors of orange, white and green -- which resemble the Indian flag -- shouted party slogans and waved huge flags.
Delhites will be casting their votes in the sixth and penultimate round of polling on May 12; with 900 million people eligible to cast ballots in India's general elections this year, voting takes place in stages over about five weeks.
Gandhi and his Congress Party are going head to head with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who's defending his prime ministership after a landslide win in 2014.
Modi and his BJP party have adopted the term Chowkidar, which means watchman, as a campaign identity, with its members using the word as a prefix to their names on social media profiles.
But at Gandhi's rally tonight, cries of "Chowkidar chor hai!" (watchman is a thief) -- rang out at intervals as excited men and women searched for seats. Several had personal complaints against Modi's policies: One spectator, Kuldeep Kaur, 65, told CNN that her family's gold business had been run into the ground due to Modi's controversial economic initiative to demonetize 85% of the country's currency.
"Modi has done nothing for us," she said. "Our work has been affected so badly that our children are dying of hunger. Our business is completely shut. My children are sitting idle."
Demonetization was one of Modi's main economic policies instated in 2017. Practically overnight, his administration banned high-value cash denominations in an attempt to combat corruption and tax evasion. But the move came under fire for crippling small businesses and destabilizing India's cash-based economy.
Kaur's family ran a gold shop that was completely built on cash, she says.