Indian Politics & Elections Blog

Arvind Kejriwal

Kejriwal was born in Siwani village in Bhiwani district in the Indian state of Haryana on 16 August 1968 to Gobind Ram Kejriwal and Gita Devii  a well-educated and well-off couple.   He was educated at Campus School in Hisar. He is married to Sunita, who is also an IRS officer and his batchmate from National Academy of Administration in Mussoorie and the National Academy of Direct Taxes in Nagpur. The couple have a daughter and a son.

Kejriwal studied mechanical engineering at Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur and then from 1989 he worked for Tata Steel. He left that job in 1992, having previously taken leave of absence in order to study for the Civil Services Examination, Kejriwal joined the Indian Revenue Service in 1995 after qualifying through the Civil Services Examination

Kejriwal believes “Change begins with small things”. In December 1999, while still in service with the Income Tax Department, he helped found a movement named Parivartan (which means “change”), focused on assisting citizens in navigating income tax, electricity and food ration matters in parts of Delhi. The Parivartan organisation exposed a fake ration card scam in 2008 but, according to a founder member, did not have a great impact generally and was largely moribund by 2012.

Kejriwal was the civil society representative member of the committee constituted by the Government of India to draft a Jan Lokpal bill, following a campaign for introduction of such legislation that featured Anna Hazare. He had been arrested for his support of Hazare.

Kejriwal established the AAP in November 2012 as he believed that electoral politics was the next logical step in the fight against corruption. The party name reflects the phrase Aam Aadmi, or “common man”, whose interests Kejriwal proposed to represent. He became one of the five most mentioned Indian politicians on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter in the run-up to the Delhi legislative assembly election, 2013. This was the first election contested by the AAP. In the Delhi election, Kejriwal defeated incumbent Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit in her constituency of New Delhi by a margin of 25,864 votes. The party as a whole won 28 of the 70 available seats, finishing in second place.

AAP formed the minority government in the hung parliament with outside support from the eight Indian National Congress, one Janta Dal (United) and one independent MLAs. Kejriwal was sworn in as the second-youngest chief minister of Delhi on 28 December 2013, after Chaudhary Brahm Prakash who became chief minister at the age of 34. He was in charge of Delhi’s Home Ministry, Power, Planning, Finance, Vigilance ministries.

On February 14, 2014 he resigned as Chief Minister after failing to introduce and pass the Jan Lokpal Bill in the Delhi Assembly.


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