"Who are we? We are common people. We are very small people. Still we have failed such big politicians. This goes on to show that when the common man revolts, the biggest thrones get shaken up."
- Arvind Kejriwal
Only a month ago we could see Arvind Kejriwal coming to our homes, streets, offices wearing his trademark topi displaying ‘Mai aam aadmi hu’ and declaring cockily “We will win Delhi.”. Almost everyone mocked at him seeing his confidence, though silently. Today the same cocky outsider, known more for his civil disobedience than for wily politics has emerged as a giant killer who not only has put a FULL STOP to the outgoing chief minister Sheila Dikshit’s political career but also has gained a turn to say – I told you so.
He may not yet sit in the chief minister's chair; nor be the one holding cabinet meetings in Jantar Mantar, but Kejriwal's determination has led a fledging one-year-old party to what can only be called a stunning and sensational debut.
A Year Ago congress told Arvind Kejriwal - First Participate in Democracy, Win Elections & then talk. He did participate, defeated Congress and proved his essence to the prevailing party as well as the whole country.
December 8, 2013, will go down in history as a Red Letter Day for the first-timer Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party as it is leading on 28 seats with the revenue-officer-turned-social worker-turned politician leading ahead of three-time chief minister Sheila Dikshit in the New Delhi Assembly constituency.
The results were a surprise for many. Known for his extremely dogmatic approach, Kejiwal spoke of issues that concern people such as exorbitant power bills, water prices which touch everyone in Delhi and he has played these aces quite well. He not only arouse the common man to stand against the ills of the prevailing system by entering into the power politics but also make the common man realize his power to vote and avail his right to secure a prosperous future of their country.
He was criticized by many, calling his decision to take on none other than Sheila Dikshit as an emotional rather than a political decision. When he first announced that he would compete against Dikshit from wherever she ran, it was seen as an act of complete folly. The maverick politician with loads of confidence refused to budge an inch from his decision. And, he took on Sheila Dikshit head on. Not to say the BJP whose candidate, Vijender Gupta, was relegated to the third slot in the race for the New Delhi seat.
Kejriwal was mocked at when he asked Delhiites to tear up their electricity bills. His public protest and rallies were seen with disrespect and awarded with the arguments like 'This is the height of civil disobedience' and 'gimmickry won't work', but on hindsight, the 28 seats that AAP has won are testimony to one simple fact: the trouser and shirt politician stands ahead of his Kurta-pajama clad political colleagues mainly because he read the deep anger of not just the slum dwellers but the urban class as well.
Also, Delhi registered its highest-ever voter turnout of 65.86 per cent this time. Polling was extended by four and a half hours in the capital to ensure that thousands of people lined up at polling booths must exercise their franchise.
In such a short period of 1 year Kejriwal not only has won the trust and confidence of the Delhiites but also laid the biggest foundation and made a shocking and blockbuster debut in the political sphere where the chair was a passing game between the two main parties, that is, the BJP and INC. Kejriwal has beaten Sheila Dikshit in the constituency of New Delhi by a whopping 250,000 + votes. The founder of the Aam Aadmi Party, Arvind Kejriwal stunned the whole nation by being way ahead of three-time Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit in the New Delhi constituency. Kejriwal was ahead of his two main rivals with 10,438 votes to his credit against the 4,909 of Dikshit, who has been the chief minister of Delhi since 1998. BJP's Vijendra Gupta stood in third position with 3,347.
A lot of people were wondering earlier whether there would be any future for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) if they failed to win at least five seats in the Delhi Assembly elections.Some of that worry dissipated when the exit polls predicted the party to win 10-20 seats out of the total 70. And the worry turned into a shock when the recent reports show AAP and BJP almost neck and neck at 29-32 in favor of the BJP.
After the clear win of AAP from the Congress the supporters of AAP donning the iconic Gandhi cap with Aam Aadmi Party written on it raised slogans of 'Vande Mataram' and 'Bharat mata ki jai'. They cheered "We will win this time. Congress will go and Aam Admi Party will come as a winner". "People want a change from a corrupt government and the AAP is the best choice," said another supporter.
With the AAP comes in a clear number two and decimating the Congress, it is for the first time since N T Rama Rao led the TDP to an astounding election win in 1983 that a party formed a year ago has done so incredibly well. Riding on an anti-corruption plank, Arvind Kejriwal's victory in Delhi polls has rekindled memories of George Fernandes' 1967 feat when he defeated Congress strongman S K Patil in Mumbai in his electoral debut. This also reminds of the humiliating defeat of Indira Gandhi by Raj Narain in Rae Bareli in the 1977 Lok Sabha election.
North Indian state Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah refer to the good performance of AAP led by Arvind Kejriwal in the Delhi Assembly polls said he would not underestimate the power of any ‘newcomer’ or ‘underdog’ with a fresh message in the state elections due next year.
The 1968-born Kejriwal has got determination built into his DNA. He had to face a lot of difficulties in his early childhood owing to his father’s transfers. He had to shift schools between Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, learning the true meaning of the word challenge early on. Always a topper in school, he was a 'bookworm' and simply locked himself up in the bathroom, to avoid being distracted from his textbooks. Born in Haryana, Kejriwal is a graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, where he studied Mechanical Engineering. He is a former Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer and former Joint Commissioner in the Income Tax Department. He is well-known for his role in drafting a proposed Jan Lokpal Bill and his efforts to bring and implement the Right to Information (RTI) act at grassroots level.The bureaucrat, who chose the revenue service, after he twice failed to make it to the IAS, was not satisfied by just being a babu in a government office. He first engaged with grass-root level activism through 'Parivartan and then set his eyes on pushing the Right to Information Act. His push for transparency earned him the Magsaysay award for 'Emergent Leadership' in 2006. He quit his cozy job the same year to turn full time activist and formed an NGO, Public Cause Research Foundation, with the award money.
"RTI did bring in a revolutionary change in public discourse. But soon it became clear that the act can only help dig out information about corruption but not punish the guilty. Therein lay the roots of India Against Corruption (IAC)," Kejriwal had told HT in 2011. The IAC - with Anna Hazare as its face -- kept the government on tenterhooks through 2011 and half of 2012 with its public agitations that prompted the common man to hit the streets demanding a strong Janlokpal.
Kejriwal was always there, sharing the stage with Anna and it was only after Anna’s disapproval of a political route that they both parted ways.
Mr Kejriwal who was running for office against Sheila Dikshit, even on the day of elections said "I have nothing to say to Sheila Dikshit," on NDTV. "Yes, I think I will win the New Delhi constituency," he predicted of his direct contest with Ms Dikshit.
The entry of Kejriwal as a tough competitor of Ms Diksit who was hoping for a fourth term as chief minister was made to send her resignation to Lieutenant-Governor Najeeb Jung on Sunday and the BJP was set for a return to power after 15 years without any coalition with the second largest peoples party AAP. The BJP was ahead in the triangular contest in the capital but will have to settle for sharing the spotlight with Arvind Kejriwal and his nine-month-old Aam Aadmi Party or AAP.
The BJP got 32 of Delhi's 70 assembly seats. The AAP is within reach of 28. The incumbent Congress has been crushed, with leads giving it just 8 seats.
Narendra Modi earlier accused Kejriwal of backstabbing Anna Hazare's anti-corruption movement of his personal political ends and cautioned the people against voting for the ‘newcomers’. But after the stunning win of AAP from the Congress and the neck to neck competition between AAP and BJ, the BJP activists changed their views. BJP's Chandan Mitra acknowledged the AAP’s white hot debut and said "We did not expect a newcomer with no clear agenda to have this sort of impact".
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra handed Mr Kejriwal his most memorable nickname in an outburst earlier this year, in which he branded AAP "mango people in a banana republic".Hiding their defeat Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi now said "Delhi has seen a pro-Aam Aadmi Party wave, not pro-Modi or pro-BJP wave".
BJP had been termed AAP and its leaders Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia, Gopal Rai and others as Congress' agents and said they are only a "vote-cutter" party. But contrary to this remark Manish Sisodia the member of AAP clearly decribed that they will not form coalition with any other party and thus regained the trust of many people. BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said that the "the new kid on the block" has proven it's a force to reckon with.
The 44-year-old, who spent the morning meditating at his party office, emerged to a shower of flowers and cheers once his victory was confirmed. "This is a victory of the people...it shows India has won, democracy has won," he said to a huge crowd of supporters brandishing brooms, the symbol of his one-year-old Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
"Our party doesn't worry about things like who will be chief ministering. We worry about how to help the country," Mr Kejriwal said.
The symmetrically stellar performances of Mr Kejriwal and his AAP have stumped the Congress and the BJP, who repeatedly dismissed the new organization as an upstart throughout the campaign for Delhi.
Kejriwal says AAP refuses to be guided by ideologies and that they are entering politics to change the system: "We are aam aadmis. If we find our solution in the left we are happy to borrow it from there. If we find our solution in the right, we are happy to borrow it from there."
It's the man of the moment - Arvind Kejriwal - making his victory speech. Because although the BJP is the single largest party, the Aam Aadmi Party has made a debut so stunning, that its performance can only be called the single most impressive. Speaking to the media, Kejriwal said that for the first time in Indian history, people had voted for truth and honesty. It's official. The AAP will play the role of a strong opposition, says Kejriwal. "We won’t support or take support from anyone, we will play the role of a strong opposition".