An average, bespectacled Indian with a soft demeanour, Arvind Kejriwal, born in Siwani, Haryana on August 16, 1968, began his career with Tata Steel after graduating in mechanical engineering from IIT, Kharagpur, in 1989. This was not to hold his interest too long, for he left the same in 1992 to have a shot at the Indian Civil Services exam. Kejriwal successfully entered the Indian Revenue Services and began service in the New Delhi Income Tax Department.
Kejriwal soon married Sunita, an IRS officer herself; they now have a daughter and a son. Kejriwal is a vegetarian and likes watching Aamir Khan's movies and other comedies. He has also authored a book, Swaraj that came out in 2012, in both English and Hindi.
In 2000, Kejriwal quit his IRS job and gave vent to the feelings of social activism and started an NGO, Parivartan, at Kaushambi, to take up social root causes against corruption, change in the field of education, and the public distribution system in India. Kejriwal strongly feels that political corruption is one root cause of corruption in the country as can be seen from the various scams involving political figures that have been exposed by the media.
Kejriwal himself had met several social activists and personalities like Mother Teresa and was impressed by their vision and thoughts early on. Soon enough in the public eye, Arvind Kejriwal gathered many followers. He was awarded for his initiatives with the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay award for Emerging Leadership in 2006. He was also able to meet and garner ample support from Anna Hazare, who was rising as an anti-corruption Gandhian. The two joined hands along with others like Kiran Bedi, Prashant Bhushan, etc., to spring up the momentum of the anti-corruption movement. Kejriwal became the architect of the Jan Lokpal Bill movement, aiming to bring an ombudsman over the government and a strong RTI (Right to Information) in the country.
New Chapter in Kejriwal's Life
As Hazare's movement began to lose steam over slow-progressing talks with other political parties, Arvind Kejriwal decided to rejuvenate it through the political route. This brought in major differences in opinions between Anna, who did not want to politicise the movement and Kejriwal, who thought otherwise. The two parted ways and in November 2012, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) came into existence.
When Assembly elections concluded in Delhi in December 2013, nobody had imagined that the AAP would win 27 of the 70 seats. While the party was nowhere close to the required majority, the event was hailed as a mass transformation in which the common man had finally stood up to decades of corruption and exploitation.
But fate had decided to enthrone Kejriwal. The Congress party extended support, asking the AAP to form the government. They did so, and Kejriwal became the seventh Chief Minister of Delhi. However, the government was not to last long, as the BJP and the Congress opposed some aspects of the Jan Lokpal Bill, leading to confrontation in the assembly.
14 February 2014 was the last day of the AAP government, as the opposition wouldn't let it table the Jan Lokpal Bill without getting it approved from the Centre first, which Kejriwal saw as unnecessary and a hurdle.
What next for Kejriwal?
Kejriwal had said that he would quit if the Jan Lokpal Bill wasn't passed, and he has. Whether it is ideological idealism or a shrewd pre-Lok Sabha move, time will tell. But for now the party is focused on the 2014 general election, targeting Haryana and UP. Kejriwal has said they'd now expose the festering politics-business nexus, of which he says Narendra Modi is a guilty party.
However, Kejriwal doesn't see the role of PM for himself, preferring to aim at ruling Delhi with full majority. But with the many about-turns the city has witnessed the party make, who knows!
Arvind Kejriwal Facts and Information
|Born||16 August 1968 (Siwani, Haryana)|
|Father||Gobind Ran Kejriwal (engineer)|
|Wife||Sunita Kejriwal (IRS officer)|
|Education||Schooling from Campus School in Hisar. B.Tech. (Mechanical Engineering), IIT Kharagpur|
|Indian Revenue Service (IRS)||Joined the IRS in 1992 through the Civil Services Examination|
|Social Activism||Resigned from job in February 2006 Founded the NGO called Public Cause Research Foundation from the prize money of Magsaysay Award.|
|Parivartan||Founded Parivartan, an NGO, in 1999 to assist citizens in matters related to property, electricity, etc.|
|Right to Information||Instrumental in getting the Right to Information Act (RTI) enacted as a law.|
|Jan Lokpal Movement||Key person in the Jan Lokpal movement led by Anna Hazare. Participated in the hunger strike of 5 April 2011 against the government's Lokpal Bill. This was in reaction to the rejection by the former Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh of his request for the formation of a joint committee comprising government and civil society representatives.|
|Jail Journey||Arrested on 16 August 2011 in connection with the protests.|
|Political party||Founded the Aam Aadmi Party in 2012 to present a 'clean' democratic alternative.|
|Chief Minister of Delhi||Defeated the Congress's Sheila Dikshit from the New Delhi constituency and became the 7th Chief Minister of Delhi on 28 December 2013.|
|Resignation||Resigned from the Delhi Assembly over the Jan Lokpal Bill on 14 February 2014.|
|Writing||Swaraj, published in 2012|
|Awards||Ashoka Fellow, Civic Engagement in 2004 Satyendra K. Dubey Memorial Award (2005) from IIT Kanpur for contribution to society Ramon Magsaysay Award for Emergent Leadership in 2006 CNN-IBN Indian of the Year Award in Public Service (2006) Distinguished Alumnus Award, IIT Kharagpur for Eminent Leadership (2009) The Association for India's Development awarded grant and fellowship (2009) Policy Change Agent of the Year, The Economic Times Awards for Corporate Excellence (2010) NDTV Indian of the Year (2011, shared with Anna Hazare)|
|Others||A strict vegetarian and practitioner of the Vipassana meditation.|
Blogs about Arvind Kejriwal
Top 10 Takeaways from Kejriwal’s Speech at Swearing-in Ceremony : It was an emphatic moment when Arvind Kejriwal took to the podium and addressed the people of Delhi as their new Chief Minister, minutes after the swearing-in ceremony. The seemingly unwell CM did not relent from packing few punches at his detractors. His impromptu speech also exuded genuine willingness to serve the people…
Kejriwal – Cornered by Women Leaders Kiran Bedi, Kiran Walia, Nupur Sharma, Jaya Prada : Despite the chilly weather in the Capital, the heat of the upcoming Delhi Assembly election is rising day by day. The Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal is familiar to the electorate but, Kiran Bedi after her entry into the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) appears to be sharing the limelight with the AAP chief. Not only Bedi, Nupur Sharma, a former DUSU president, and Congress party's seasoned political campaigner Kiran Walia's entry in the…
Kejriwal – Seen as a Chief Minister Who Had No Idea What to Do, and Ran Away! : Arvind Kejriwal, former Chief Minister of Delhi, is still a popular leader in the city because of his public image as a clean politician with robust credibility earned due to his anti-corruption programmes and his election campaigning style of personally visiting the voters. In fact, this was one of the most important reasons why the party won in 2013. But the resignation of Kejriwal as the Chief Minister, considered a political debacle, in fact has…
It’s Now or Never for AAP – Delhi Assembly Election Will Decide : Will the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) prove to be a flash in the pan of India’s political couldron? The party had sprung a surprise in last year’s elections to the Delhi Assembly by winning 28 of the total 70 seats, proving all political pandits wrong in their predictions. With support of the Congress from outside, AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal became the Chief Minister. However, he resigned after 49 days in office after the Congress and…
Why Arvind Kejriwal Failed? : It’s a question that will take us back to the current political problems and their offshoots. A man who made a surreal entry in the political arena hanged his boots of Chief Ministership within 49 days. From forming a government in Delhi to ending up with only four Lok Sabha seats, the downhill ride for AAP carries the same intensity of any acclaimed tragedy. You feel bad for the protagonist, who languishes in a dark…