Arvind Kejriwal Biography
Arvind Kejriwal is the present Chief Minister of Delhi. He is also one of the most controversial and popular figures of contemporary Indian politics, having gained prominence as recently as late 2012. Within such a short span of time, he has generated tremendous discussion after becoming the Chief Minister of Delhi twice and resigning within 50 days in support of the Jan Lokpal Bill during his first term as the CM. Also, in the general elections of 2014, he contested from the most-hyped Lok Sabha seat of Varanasi against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, the verdict of the people was not in his favour.
For someone who believes that “change begins with small things”, Kejriwal has embarked upon a rather tough mission of making India corruption-free through the more popular means of seeking public support – standing for elections. His Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) came out with flying colours in the 2015 assembly election in Delhi, bagging 67 out of the 70 seats. It was a historic victory for the newly formed party that managed to sway away public opinion from the major political parties of the country. In the 2013 Delhi assembly elections too, the AAP had sprung a surprise in the political race by bagging 27 seats. More drama was to follow as the Congress extended its support to the AAP and a government was formed under Kejriwal’s leadership.
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 for too long as 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 his career as a bureaucrat in the New Delhi Income Tax Department.
Arvind Kejriwal soon married Sunita, an IRS officer; they now have a daughter and a son. Kejriwal is a vegetarian and likes watching comedies and Aamir Khan’s movies. He has also authored a book Swaraj that came out in 2012, in both English and Hindi.
In 2000, Arvind Kejriwal quit his IRS job and gave vent to the feelings of social activism and started an NGO, Parivartan, in Kaushambi, Ghaziabad to fight against corruption and bring change in the field of education and the public distribution system in India. Kejriwal strongly feels that political corruption is the 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. In fact, Kejriwal used the RTI Act very effectively to expose deficiencies in the public services domain.
Arvind Kejriwal 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 with others like Kiran Bedi, Prashant Bhushan, etc., to ramp 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 opinion between Anna, who did not want to politicise the movement, and Kejriwal, who thought otherwise. The two parted ways and in November 2012, and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) came into existence.
When the 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 against decades of corruption and exploitation.
However, fate had decided to enthrone Kejriwal. The Congress party extended its support, asking 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.
February 14, 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 deemed unnecessary and a hurdle.
But fate had something else to offer to Arvind Kejriwal. When re-elections were held in Delhi in 2015, the AAP created a historic moment by achieving a stupendous victory, winning 67 out of the 70 seats. These numbers proved that Delhi and its common man not only supported and trusted Kejriwal but also wanted a change in politics and the society. His tenure has been full of confrontation with the Central Government and the different Lt. Governors appointed by the centre.
Moreover, the last 4 years have also been marked by the exit of several important personalities from the AAP, such as Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan. In the 2019 General Elections, the AAP led by him suffered a setback when it failed to win a single Lok Sabha seat in the 7 constituencies of Delhi.
Arvind Kejriwal Facts and Information
|Born||16 August 1968 (Siwani, Haryana)|
|Father||Gobind Ram Kejriwal (Electrical Engineer)|
|Wife||Sunita Kejriwal (IRS officer)|
|Residence||Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh|
|Education||Did schooling from Campus School in Hisar and B.Tech. (Mechanical Engineering) from IIT, Kharagpur.|
|Indian Revenue Service (IRS)||Joined the IRS in 1995 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 the Ramon Magsaysay Award.|
|Parivartan||Founded Parivartan, an NGO, in 1999 to assist citizens in matters related to property, electricity, etc.|
|Right to Information Act||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||The first term as the Chief Minister of Delhi started after the 2013 assembly elections on 28 December 2013 and then, the second term started on 14 February 2015.|
|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 (2004), Satyendra K. Dubey Memorial Award (2005) from IIT Kanpur for contribution to society, Ramon Magsaysay Award for Emergent Leadership (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) and CNN-IBN Indian of the Year Award for Politics (2013)|
|Others||A strict vegetarian and practitioner of the Vipassana meditation.|