Popularity of Arvind Kejriwal in DelhiA year back when Arvind Kejriwal became the Chief Minister of Delhi it was regarded as an unprecedented success considering the fact that his party was able to overthrow the likes of the long-entrenched Congress and deny the BJP a shot at the Delhi hot seat. However, 49 days later the dream was all over as Kejriwal decided to put down his papers. The reason was the stated inability to table the Jan Lokpal Bill in the State Assembly. The decision showed at once his immense dedication to honesty and his clarity as well as a complete lack of political nous to get the job done in the face of tremendous adversity.

A year has elapsed since and Delhi is set to see Assembly polls yet again. In this one year, however, Kejriwal’s popularity has not taken a dip even after what he had done a year back and there are several reasons for that. The first factor that is working in favour of Kejriwal is the infighting in BJP’s Delhi unit.

Kejriwal enjoys a significant amount of support among Dalits, autorickshaw drivers and people living in the slums of Delhi. Dalits make up for 20 per cent of the State’s voters and thus are a significant proportion for any political party. When the elections had been organized in 2013, the AAP had won nine of the 12 seats that were classified as reserved. This time around as well the AAP would be depending a lot on these voters to pull them through.

Kejriwal has previously served as a civil servant and it is this level of education and organization that is evident in his working. This has also endeared him a lot to a large cross-section of voters. This time around AAP is the first party to have declared its candidates list, something which gives them a commendable advantage over its rivals Congress and BJP. It is expected this would also allow its candidates and workers to build up relations with the voters and it could work in their favour in the elections as well.

Kejriwal is also popular because of his campaigning style, of personally visiting the voters. In fact, this was one of the major reasons why the party won in 2013. Even during the days preceding the 2015 polls, AAP workers had visited the unauthorized colonies across the city and spread the party’s message. It is expected that this would be profitable for Kejriwal as well as the party in the upcoming elections.

However, the factor that works the best for Kejriwal is his public image as a clean politician with strong credibility earned thanks to his anti-corruption programmes. Experts say that the resignation of Kejriwal as the Chief Minister, regarded as a political debacle by many, in fact served to solidify his reputation.

Here was a leader who did not care about the seat of power and could relinquish it anytime he was unable to fulfil his commitment to the people. It is obvious that he lacked the political nous but then his heart is in the right place, something that is evidently in rather short supply in the Indian political firmament. This has been evident in the ebullient praise he has received from the common people.
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