Kejriwal, the giant killer who swept Dikshit out of powerNew Delhi: Dismissed as a political greenhorn,
engineer-turned-civil servant Arvind Kejriwal has cemented his
place in politics with a stunning political debut for his
nascent AAP and emerged as a giant killer to sweep Sheila
Dikshit out from not only office but also her constituency.
Belying all claims of being a "non-actor or no factor"
in the Delhi Assembly elections by Congress and BJP, Kejriwal
was largely instrumental in snapping the 15-year rule of
incumbent Chief Minister. Adding to her misery was the defeat
in her own turf--New Delhi constituency--by a huge margin of
Often poked fun at by politicians, the 45-year-old former
Indian Revenue Service(IRS) officer was challenged by none
other than senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal in -- not to
criticise the political system as an outsider but join it to
cleanse it from within.
In the past one year, if there was one person who sent
the entire political spectrum into a tizzy it was undoubtedly
Kejriwal, who attacked both BJP and Congress on the issues of
corruption, exorbitant rise in power and water tariff, safety
of women and had managed to make a dent in the vote banks of
both the parties.
Soft-spoken but a man with strong conviction, the Ramon
Magsaysay award winner came into prominence from the agitation
by 75-year-old activist Anna Hazare in support of Jan Lokpal
Bill in 2011.
He was part of the Team Anna, along with first woman
IPS officer Kiran Bedi, Prashant Bhushan and others. He was
the civil society representative member of the committee
constituted by the Government to draft the Jan Lokpal bill,
following the campaign for introduction of such legislation.
After feeling "betrayed" by the government when it
rejected their draft, Congress and other leaders challenged
them to join politics, win elections and come to Parliament if
they wanted to "fight system from within", root out corruption
and get the Jan Lokpal Bill passed.
Known for taking on challenges, the indefatigable activist
decided to take a plunge into politics and formed "Aam Aadmi
Party" on November 26 last year, after a formal split of Team
The party name — Aam Aadmi Party — reflects the phrase
Aam Aadmi or "common man", whose interests Kejriwal proposed
to represent and got its poll symbol "broom" in July this
The party started its poll preparation way ahead in
April with an emphasis to field only candidates with a "clean
image" for all the 70 Assembly constituencies.
For taking on seasoned politicians like three-time Delhi
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and other BJP leaders, Kejriwal
and his party tried different strategies like going on 15-day
long hunger strike on the issue of power tariff in May.
And to inject some drama, the anti-corruption crusader
even filed his papers on November 16 on the last date of
filing of nominations, after Dikshit filed her nomination,
just to ensure a straight fight with her.
To woo the electors, the party put up posters on
auto-rickshaws against Dikshit flagging burning issues of
women safety, corruption and high power and water tariffs.
Thousands of AAP volunteers, from Delhi and outside and
even abroad, joined him in the hope that Kejriwal would do a
miracle. They even took sabbaticals to join his movement.
The volunteers conducted street plays, put up banners
hanging across flyovers to gain the attention of 1.19 crore
Stressing on transparency, the party did which was
unthinkable of putting their funds in public domain and making
it accessible to all.
Among the other firsts, he and his party decided to come
up with 70 assembly-based manifestos and a common one for
Delhi, which was followed by the BJP but it failed to bring
out more than one or two.
Known as meticulous planner, Kejriwal and his team planned
every thing right down to the booth level to help swung votes
in their favour.
Even selection of party symbol "broom" was part of their
plans to strike a chord with the balmiki community, who
mostly work as safaikaramcharis in the three BJP-led municipal
corporations, which used to be perceived as a traditional
Congress vote bank.
Born on August 16, 1968 in Hisar in Haryana to Gobind
Ram Kejriwal and Gita Devi, Arvind is a Mechanical Engineering
graduate of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur.
After completing his engineering, he joined Tata Steel
in 1989 and after working for three years, he resigned in
1992. He later joined Indian Revenue Service in 1995 after
qualifying the Civil Services Examination.
Being in government service, Kejriwal was active in taking
up social cause and worked for implementation of Right to
Information Act 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 from the lucrative
government job from the post of Joint Commissioner in the
Income Tax Department he become a full-time activist and
started an NGO, Public Cause Research Foundation, with his
award money as a corpus fund.
Kejriwal is married to Sunita, who is also an IRS
officer and his batch mate from National Academy of
Administration in Mussoorie. The couple have two children, a
daughter and a son. He has a younger sister and brother.
But unlike, other political leaders, Kejriwal had to
face several controversies related to funds and a sting by a
Opposition parties repeatedly termed AAP and Kejriwal as
"back-stabber" and one who had stabbed at the back of Anna
Hazare to fulfil his political ambitions.
They even questioned the party accepting funds from abroad
from NRIs. A PIL was also filed in the Supreme Court, which
directed the government to probe the matter.
During the last phase of election campaign, a sting
operation carried out by a little known webportal, claimed to
have exposed how AAP volunteers were ready to support anyone
who offered to fund their party.
The party's political affairs committee themselves went
through the unedited footage found that the sting was carried
out to malign the AAP image and not the entire truth was
Sonia accepts defeat with humilityNew Delhi: Accepting the people's verdict
with "humility", top leadership of the Congress today pledged
to transform the party ahead of 2014 Lok Sabha polls for which
it would announce its Prime Ministerial candidate "at the
Stating that the party was "very very disappointed" over
the assembly results in four states, Congress President Sonia
Gandhi said there was a need to do "deep introspection".
Gandhi and her son Rahul, party Vice President, met
journalists at the Congress headquarters here to acknowledge
the victory of "our opponents" whom she congratulated.
"Obviously people are unhappy. Otherwise they would not
have given the results that they gave," she said.
Briefly analysing the causes for the defeat, Gandhi said
there were a number of reasons, which included price rise and
Gandhi expressed confidence that the results of assembly
polls will not have a bearing on the next Lok Sabha polls.
"General elections are quite different. People in state
elections do focus on personality at the state level, at
leaders who are likely to lead them," she said.
However, in national elections "people look at the person
who is likely to guide them and govern them at the national
level", the Congress chief said.
Asked whether the Congress party would name its Prime
Ministerial candidate against BJP's Narendra Modi, Gandhi
said, "people need not worry as, at an opportune time, the
name of the Prime Ministerial candidate" will be announced.
Initially she appeared reluctant to give an answer when
asked whether Rahul would be named as the Prime Ministerial
"We will make a statement. The party has to decide. The
party will decide at the opportune time," she said.
Rahul said through the elections, "people have given us a
message, which we have heard."
The Congress party has to transform itself to stand up,
he said. "We have to move to a new paradigm and give serious
space to the common masses."
Asked about the spectacular performance of Aam Aadmi
Party in Delhi, he said both the major parties, Congress and
BJP, had thought about politics in a traditional way.
"I think, we need to consider thinking in terms of
empowering the people which I have been saying within the
party. I am going to make this a central issue," he said.
Maintaining that he would learn from the success of AAP,
Rahul said the new party involved lot of people which
traditional parties do not do.
"We are going to involve them (people) in a way you can't
imagine," he said.
Polls show people have accepted Modi as their leader: GadkariNew Delhi: Former BJP president Nitin
Gadkari today credited Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi
for the party's impressive performance in the assembly polls,
saying the results showed people have accepted him as their
Gadkari, party's in-charge for Delhi assembly polls,
congratulated the Aam Aadmi Party for doing well and admitted
the Arvind Kejriwal-led party got more seats than expected by
"The elections were a semi-final before the Lok Sabha
polls. People want to remove the Congress and they have given
clear message that they are not going to accept the leadership
of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. They have accepted Narendra
Modi as their leader," he said.
Gadkari said price rise and corruption were the main
issues before the people in these elections and they have
given a clear verdict.
Modi takes jibes at Congress over election debacleNew Delhi: BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate
Narendra Modi today took a jibe at Congress, saying its total
seats in all the four states Delhi is less than what his party
has won in one state.
"The total number of seats Congress has won in all the
four states today cannot even match the seats @BJP4India won
in 1 state!" Modi said on Twitter.
Till the last results came in, Congress had won only a
total of 74 seats in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh
and Delhi and is leading in 55.
BJP has won 151 seats in Rajasthan alone. Its tally of
wins in Madhya Pradesh is 99, Chhattisgarh 21, and 31 in
"BJP leads/wins 392 of 589 seats whose results
available. Great performance, winning around 66 per cent of
seats. Congress shrinks, gets 23 per cent of seats," Modi
Terming BJP's performance in these elections as
"spectacular", he said, "I congratulate Rajnathji, party
leaders & Karyakartas (workers) for their hardwork in the
He also congratulated MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh
Chouhan, Vasundhara Raje and Chhhattisgarh CM Raman Singh.
Earlier, senior leaders Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and
Gopinath Munde gave credit to Modi for BJP's good performance
in the Assembly elections.
Singh said BJP had benefited to a great degree from
the popularity of Modi in these elections.
Will learn from AAP, involve common man more in Cong: RahulNew Delhi: With Congress hit hard by Aam Admi
Party's electoral debut in Delhi, Rahul Gandhi today said the
new party has succeeded by encouraging involvement of people
and there is a need to learn from it.
He also said that political parties are not giving
adequate voice to the common man and vowed to aggressively
work towards changing the situation in Congress.
"I think the AAP involved a lot of people who the
traditional political parties did not involve. We are going to
learn from that and do a better job than anybody in the
country and involve people in ways you cannot even imgaine
now," Rahul said.
The AAP led by Arvind Kejriwal has bagged 27 seats in its
electoral debut reducing the ruling Congress to a third
position in Delhi assembly. BJP won 31 seats.
Pitching for strengthening the party, Rahul said, "I
fundamentally believe that and I am going to put all my effort
in transforming the organisation of the Congress party
together with the leaders of the Congress party and give you
an organisation, that you would be proud of and has your voice
embedded inside it."
Acknowledging the defeat, he said "Through this
election, the public has given us a message. I and the
Congress have listened to this message not just from our mind
but from our hearts also."
He said the Congress has the ability to transform itself
and stand up to the expectatons of the people. "Congress is
going to do that."
"We work for the people of this country and it is our
duty to listen to you. That is what we are supposed to do. We
have heard what you have said and we are going to do whatever
we can do as individuals and as a party to live upto your
expectations," he said, adding "political parties are not
giving adequate voice to the man on the street and it is our
job as institutions of people to that."