Arvind Kejriwal: From a common man to a triumphing leader!

Arvind Kejriwal has been emerging as one of the most important and powerful political leaders in India after strongly cementing the stronghold in the nation's capital, Delhi - the epicenter of national politics and governance. Although his power has been bordered within Delhi, his name and face have become significant across the nation as he has been elevating as one of the triumphing leaders and for yet another time he proved it in the Delhi Elections. 

Amid the presence of several regional parties, his Aam Aadmi Party has become the hardest rival for the national parties in a short time as in eight years of his political career, Kejriwal has become the face for Delhi people as, through their massive support, he is currently preparing to swearing-in as Chief Minister for the third time with huge majority. Ten years ago, he was a lesser-known RTI activist who was fighting against corruption and he was admired largely by the Delhi people that was, in turn, resulted in a huge transformation. How the nation transformed an activist into an active political leader?

Kejriwal has bagged his life working in multiple backgrounds - from an engineer, social worker, IRS officer, activist, and political leader. After getting graduated from IIT Kharagpur, he joined Tata steel in 1989 and was posted in Jamshedpur during which he geared up to prepare for Civil Services Examination. By having a strong desire for social welfare, he requested the company to transfer him to the social welfare department. But the company refused his request after which he resigned from TATA. Arvind Kejriwal met Mother Teresa in Kolkata and worked as a volunteer in the Missionaries of Charity to aid the poor and the needy. He was 24 years old when he engaged himself with the social work in Kalighat and he used to pick up the sick and the abandoned and brought them to the shelter of the ashram in Kolkata.

(L-R) Arvind Kejriwal and Mother Teresa - File photo


After a few months of volunteering with Mother Teresa's charity, Arvind Kejriwal joined Ramakrishna Mission during which he worked in the villages in the vicinity of Kolkata. He then moved to Delhi after receiving an interview call for the Civil services. In 1995, he joined the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) as an Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax in 1995 and apart from being a bureaucrat, he, along with Manish Sisodia and others founded a movement called Parivartan in 1999 that focused on bringing a change. Parivartan had largely addressed the grievances and difficulties faced by the citizens related to the Public Distribution System, social welfare schemes, and Income tax and he kept his path towards people's welfare and that was the seed of how Kejriwal has emerged as a tree now.

Through Parivartan, Kejriwal fought a legal battle of demanding transparency in public dealings and he was fiercely fighting against the corruption through the RTI for which in 2006, he was conferred with Ramon Magsaysay Award for Emergent Leadership in recognition of his involvement of using RTI act to fight against corruption. In the same year, he resigned from the government service and he donated the money received along with the award to start the new organization called Public Cause Research Foundation, which campaigned for transparent, accountable, and participatory governance - the mantras that he carries as his political policy. 

(L-R) Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal in a protest for implementing the Lokpal bill


He largely became the prominent face in Delhi in 2011 when he joined Anna Hazare and Kiran Bedi to form India Against Corruption (IAC) group that demanded the enactment of the Lokpal Bill. The activists of IAC had rolled out the fierce protests against the government and Anna Hazara held a hunger strike and this movement had reached the entire nation through which Kejriwal gained significant attention. The activists were ought to face major criticisms that they vested with no right to direct terms to the elected representatives following which Arvind Kejriwal and other activists had decided to enter politics and contest elections. In November 2012, Aam Aadmi Party was born and the birth had cracked down the ties between Kejriwal and Anna Hazare.

           Arvind Kejriwal protesting in Delhi in 2012


In 2013, AAP contested in Delhi polls and Kejriwal's politics had given the tough fight for BJP as out of 70 seats, AAP has grabbed 28 seats in the first election that strongly ratified how the voice of the common man can be heard. Kejriwal formed the government for the first time with the support of the opposition MLAs and he became the second-youngest Cheif Minister of Delhi after he was sworn in for the top post on December 2013. However, in February 2014, he resigned as Chief Minister after failing to pass the Lokpal Bill in Delhi assembly. He dissolved his government in 2014 after which Presidential rule was imposed in the state. 

Although he dissolved his government in such a short time, Delhi people didn't dissolve the hope they had on him and in 2015 legislative elections, they rewarded him a huge victory. In one year's time, AAP has won 67 seats in the assembly of 70 seats - a massive victory for a common man's party, which neither wealthier nor popular across the nation like the national parties. Amid the tensions with Modi government and issues with the Delhi Lieutenant-Governor over public appointments and responsibilities, he ran the government successfully by concentrating majorly on health, education sector, taking efforts to reduce air pollution and his governance has indeed put him back to the power in the recently concluded elections as he has proved that the voice of the common man would be revived back strongly whenever it fell on the grounds. Unlike the blaming policies of national parties, he vividly has spoken about the development and his governance for the past five years and stayed close to the common men who kept the hope on him and shown the support in the ballot.

Arvind Kejriwal celebrates after the victory in Delhi Assembly elections - Feb 11, 2020


From being the common man to bureaucrat and Chief Minister, he implies the power of the common man and how the collective voice and participatory governance overrules the noise of biased and handicapped politics. Arvind Kejriwal, the comman man who has become the hope for the common men.