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'Aam Aadmi' To 3-time Delhi CM: A Look At Arvind Kejriwal's Tumultuous Journey In Politics

Scoring a hat-trick, Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal took oath as Delhi Chief Minister for the third time after AAP was re-elected to power with majority

Arvind Kejriwal

Scoring a hat-trick, Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal took oath as Delhi Chief Minister after AAP was re-elected to power with a majority of 62 seats in the recently concluded Delhi elections. Kejriwal who ran a 'Delhi-centric' campaign building offering several freebies kept his oath-taking ceremony a 'Delhi centric' event - inviting only PM Modi and no other state CMs. Kejriwal was first elected as Chief Minister in 2013, then in 2015, and finally in 2020.

Arvind Kejriwal takes oath as Delhi CM for third time at Ramlila Maidan

Education and Civil services career

Born on 16 August 1968, Kejriwal was born in Haryana's Siwani village to Gobind Ram Kejriwal and Gita Devi. After completing his Mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology - Kharagpur, he cracked India's prestigious  Civil Services Examination on his first try. Prior to joining the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) as an Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax in 1995, he worked in Tata Steel's plant at Jamshedpur. During his service of 11 years, he helped set up an NGO named Parivartan in December 1999 - which helped Indians pay their taxes, address citizens' grievances on electricities and social welfare schemes and maintained a 'corruption-free' process.

'Come, bless your son': Arvind Kejriwal invites Delhiites to oath-taking ceremony

Political activism and Lokpal agitation

Kejriwal resigned as the Joint Commissioner in the Income-Tax Department in 2006, amid a dispute with the department for violating his agreement by not working for three years post-sabbatical. Turning to political activism, he also set up an NGO named Kabir which focused on the Right to Information (RTI) act and filing PILs demanding transparency in public dealings of the Income Tax department. Kejriwal was one of the pioneers of the RTI act and won the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award, whose award money he donated as a corpus fund to set-up the Public Cause Research Foundation.

Building on freedom fighter Anna Hazare's anti-corruption movement, he formed India Against Corruption (IAC) group along with several other activists demanding the enactment of the Jan Lokpal Bill - to appoint a public ombudsman - Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas in states. Slamming the Delhi government of rampant corruption, he protested against corruption in the Commonwealth Games 2010. While the National Advisory Council (NAC) did draft a Lokpal Bill in response, it was criticised by the IAC for its hollowed-out clauses and non-transparency and they went on a hunger strike demanding a stronger Lokpal.

'Nayak', 'Singham' posters put up at Ramlila Maidan for Kejriwal's oath taking ceremony

AAP and election as Delhi CM

Taking forward the anti-corruption movement, Kejriwal along Manish Sisodia, Kumar Vishwas, Yogendra Yadav, and several others set up the Aam Aadmi Party in November 2012. This move caused a rift between Kejriwal and his mentor - Anna Hazare who criticised the politicisation of the IAC movement. Running a massive pro-poor, anti-corruption campaign, Kejriwal defeated the incumbent CM Sheila Dikshit to form a minority government with 23 seats and outside support of 8 Congress MLAs. But soon, he resigned in February 2014 after the Delhi Assembly failed to pass the Jan Lokpal Bill.

Later, Kejriwal publically admitted that resigning as CM was a mistake and ran an unsuccessful campaign in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections by contesting against Narendra Modi from Varanasi. Failing to win in the General Assembly, Kejriwal contested for the Delhi polls in 2015 and was elected to the Assembly with a thumping majority of 67 seats in the 70-seat Assembly. While the BJP won 3 seats, Congress failed to a single seat. Some of the founding AAP members quit amid tiffs with Kejriwal, while some were removed for alleged corruption.

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Delhi polls 2020

The AAP government won accolades throughout the world for its improved government schools, free electricity, cheap water supply, free 'Mohalla clinics' and its 'Mohalla sabhas' during its reign in 2015-2019. Roping in poll-strategist Prashant Kishor, AAP built n its massive common-man appeal, offering several freebies - free electricity, water, free wifi services, free metro and bus rides for women in the run-up to the elections. BJP, which has not held the Delhi Assembly since 1998, ran a polarised campaign focusing on Shaheen Bagh and failed to upend Kejriwal. AAP retained its majority winning 62 seats, while the BJP won 8 seats and the Congress failed to open its account in February 2020.

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