New Delhi: For Arvind Kejriwal, who assumed charge as Delhi’s eighth Chief Minister on Saturday, it has been a remarkable journey since AAP’s drubbing in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls as he led the party to a spectacular victory in Delhi.
46-year-old Kejriwal, known for his sheer determination and grit, devised an “out-of-the-box” campaign strategy to enthuse the fledging party to a historic victory in the Assembly polls winning 67 of the 70 seats. It was dubbed as a David vs Goliath battle considering enormous effort put by BJP to wrest power in the capital.
AAP’s triumph is not only seen as a landslide victory but also a rallying point for the opposition to take on the BJP government, in the process propelling Kejriwal as a major figure in the national political scene.
Kejriwal’s major challenge would be to implement his poll promises, some of which critics feel, will not be easy to fulfill.
The stupendous victory was being considered significant in the political landscape as the bespectacled IITian put a brake to the string of electoral triumphs for BJP since the May Lok Sabha polls. All major opposition parties saw AAP’s victory as a signal for opposition forces to come together to take on the saffron challenge.
Quietly spreading his party’s wings after the Lok Sabha poll debacle in which AAP failed to open its account, the activist-turned-politician achieved the feat by taking his “participative politics” model to the masses through a strong army of dedicated volunteers and his sheer perseverance.
Kejriwal, who had faced huge criticism for resigning as the Chief Minister after remaining in power for 49-days, expanded the party’s base by anchoring an unconventional approach to take AAP beyond his support base of the poor and lower middle class families.
Known for taking up challenges, the indefatigable Kejriwal decided to take a plunge into politics and formed the “Aam Aadmi Party” on November 26, 2012, after a formal split in Team Anna. A bright academic, Kejriwal passed out as a Mechanical Engineering graduate from IIT Kharagpur.
He worked in Tata Steel for three years since 1989 and resigned in 1992 to take up the UPSC examination which he cleared to become an Indian Revenue Service(IRS) officer. Being in government service, Kejriwal was active in taking up social cause and worked for implementation of Right to Information Act(RTI) at grass root level. His efforts in the enactment of the RTI Act to empower the poorest citizens of India won him the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Emergent Leadership in 2006.
In February 2006, after resigning as Joint Commissioner in the Income Tax Department he became a full-time activist and started an NGO, Public Cause Research Foundation, with his award money as a corpus fund.
A strict vegetarian who prefers home-made food, Kejriwal is married to Sunita, who is also an IRS officer and his batchmate from National Academy of Administration in Mussoorie. The couple have two children, daughter Harshita and son Pulkit. He has a younger sister and brother.