New Delhi [India], Feb 16 (ANI): Arvind Kejriwal is a political phenomenon with very few parallels in Indian politics. His fight against corruption to becoming Delhi's chief minister first in 2013, Kejriwal has shown his political resoluteness, which has left even his adversaries aghast.
Nearly nine years prior to leading his party to an emphatic victory claiming 62 of 70 seats in 2020 Assembly elections in the national capital, Kejriwal first shot into eminence as an anti-establishment activist during Anna Hazare led India Against Corruption movement that roiled the country in 2011.
The years since have witnessed a nearly complete transformation of Kejriwal, departing from an image of a confrontational and combative politician during the initial years to staying away from the national issue faced by Delhi in the past few months -- anti-CAA, NRC protests, and focussing only on issues close to the hearts of lesser mortals - quality health and education facilities along with free power and water but with a cap.
In the initial years of his tenure as the Chief Minister, he had left nothing to attack Prime Minister Narendra Modi, both on national and state issues, and even went on to contest against him from Varanasi in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
In sharp contrast, he came down heavily recently on Pakistani Minister Fawad Chaudhry for his tweet against Prime Minister Modi, saying that he will not tolerate any interference from Pakistan in India's internal matters.
The AAP chief has metamorphosed, especially in the past few years, into a focused leader, with an eye on everyday issues faced by the people of Delhi. He became what has been described as a balanced politician, being more careful with his words and stance on issues, both big and small.
The emphatic victory of the AAP in the Assembly elections, despite losing all seven seats in the Lok Sabha polls only suggests that metamorphism is for the better for the party.
More specifically, the trademark woolly scarf that earned him the sobriquet of 'muffler man' was mostly missing during the campaign for the Assembly poll. When pointed out on this, Kejriwal responded on Twitter that he had taken off the muffler a long time back, which had probably gone unnoticed.
The political journey of Kejriwal began in November 2012, when he formally launched the Aam Aadmi Party, a name synonymous with the interest of 'common man'.
AAP decided to contest the 2013 Delhi Assembly elections with Kejriwal contesting against then Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit. The highlight of the campaign included his call for civil disobedience, urging Delhiites not to pay what he described as illegal and inflated power and water bills.
The AAP secured 28 of the 70 seats and formed a minority government in the hung assembly. Less than 50 days later, Kejriwal resigned from the post of Chief Minister, after failing to table the Jan Lokpal Bill in the Delhi Assembly. In a dramatic turn of events, the AAP received a historic mandate of 67 seats in 2015 and the party stayed for full tenure.
In the initial years, Kejriwal was seen as an 'idealist anarchist' and a political greenhorn who launched frequent attacks on Prime Minister Modi on national and state issues alike. The initial years of his party's regime were marked by initiatives such as Janata Darbar and the long-running dispute between the CMO and the office of Delhi's Lieutenant-Governor.
As recently as June 2018, Kejriwal held a nine-day sit-in at the L-G's office, refusing to leave the premise until he directed the IAS officers to end their 'strike.' The past one-and-a-half years witnessed Kejriwal departing from his 'Dharna politics,' despite bigger national issues rocking the national capital.
Last but not the least, Kejriwal surprised all - his foes and friends as well - when he publicly kept saying that the people of Delhi should not vote for him if they think that his government has not worked in the past five years. The people chose to put their stamp on Kejri model of development, putting 62 assembly seats in his kitty. The mighty BJP could get only eight seats, while the Congress maintained its zero score.
Kejriwal has set a tall order for himself, thus becoming a bigger challenge for his political adversaries. (ANI)