Who is Arvind Kejriwal?
Arvind Kejriwal is an Indian anti corruption activist turned politician who is the 7th Chief Minister of Delhi. He is the National Convener of the Aam Aadmi party (AAP), a political party that was launched in November 2012. Kejriwal had been a social activist long before he entered the world of politics and his main motive of venturing into this field was so that he could serve the country. As a teenager he had trouble deciding which career to pursue: medicine or engineering. Eventually he decided to go for engineering and set his eyes on entering the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). Stubbornly refusing to give the entrance exam at any other college, he appeared only for the IIT entrance—and cleared it at the first try. As a student he realized that his passion lay not in making money, but in serving his country. He started working for the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) and also became involved in social activism. His involvement in the ‘Parivartan’ movement earned him a Ramon Magsaysay Award for Emergent Leadership. Later on he became involved with Anna Hazare in his India Against Corruption (IAC) movement following which he launched the Aam Aadmi Party. He became the Chief Minister of Delhi in December 2013 but resigned after just 49 days.
Childhood & Early Life
He was born on 16 August 1968, in Siwani, Haryana, as the eldest child of Gobind Ram Kejriwal and Gita Devi. He has two younger siblings. His father was an electrical engineer and the family moved often because of his work. His mother was a well-educated woman for her time and ensured that her children focused on their studies well.
Arvind was sent to Campus School in Hisar before he attended a Christian missionary school at Sonipat. He was a loner and an avid reader. He was also a religious and spiritually inclined teenager.
A bright student at school he was confused about choosing a career path. Initially he wanted to become a doctor but changed his mind and opted for engineering instead. On learning that the Indian Institute of Technology was the best for engineering studies, he set his heart on getting into the prestigious institute.
He appeared for the test and cleared it in his first attempt. Thus, he joined IIT Kharagpur, in West Bengal, choosing mechanical engineering as his stream.
His college experience was an eye-opener for him. While many of his classmates planned to go abroad after graduation, he decided to stay in India and do something for his country. He received job offers from Oil and Natural Gas Corporation and Gas Authority of India, but had set his mind on getting into Tata Steel, a company that had rejected him in their interview round.
The determined Kejriwal called the company headquarters and requested another interview. This time he was chosen.
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In 1989, he was placed in a training program at Tata Steel and then assigned as assistant manager in Jamshedpur. In spite of getting into his dream company he was not happy with the job; in fact he found it quite boring.
He decided to further his studies and attempted to get into a prestigious management institute but was turned down. Then on the advice of a friend he decided to study for the Civil Service Examination.
By 1992, he realized that his true calling was in serving the society and quit his lucrative job even as he waited for the results of the Civil Service Examination.
Meanwhile he met Mother Teresa and worked at her Kalighat Ashram for two months. He then joined the Christian Brothers Association and also did village work with Ramakrishna Missions. In addition he did some outreach work in the rural areas with a government organization called Nehru Yuva Kendra (Nehru Youth Center).
Having cleared all the rounds of the Civil Service Examination, he joined the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) in 1995. But again he was disillusioned with his job. Exposed to rampant corruption from the very beginning, he realized that this was not what he had imagined government service to be.
He helped found a movement called Parivartan in 1999 while working with the Income Tax Department. This movement helped expose a fake ration card scam and assisted the citizens of Delhi in matters related to income tax, electricity and food rations.
In order to focus on social causes, he resigned from his position as a Joint Commissioner of Income Tax in New Delhi in 2006. He established the Public Cause Research a few months later.
Kejriwal gained in popularity when he became associated with the prominent social activist Anna Haraze in early 2010s while campaigning for the passing of the Jan Lokpal bill. However, he later split from Team Anna and formed his own political party, Aam Aadmi Party, along with his supporters in 2012.
He soon became well-known among the Indian masses for his fight against corruption and defeated Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit in the 2013 Delhi Legislative Assembly election. He took office as the Chief Minister on 28 December 2013.
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The citizens of Delhi had great expectations from him but he resigned after just 49 days on 14 February 2014, as he found it wasn’t possible to pass the Jan Lokpal Bill, with the current strength of his party.
On February 10, 2015, Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Admi Party (AAP) trounced the BJP (the ruling party at the center) in the Delhi Assembly elections 2015. Out of 70 seats in the assembly, the AAP won 67, leaving just 3 to the mighty BJP.
On February 14, 2015, Arvind became the Chief Minister of Delhi as his Aam Admi Party (AAP) formed the government in Delhi.
He played a major role in the Jan Lokpal movement which pressurized the then Central government to bring the Lokpal Bill in the parliament.
He is the National Convener of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which he formally launched in November 2012 with the main motive of fighting corruption in order to bring more transparency in governance. He also served as the Chief Minister of Delhi from 28 December 2013 to 14 February 2014.
Awards & Achievements
In 2005, he was awarded the Satyendra K. Dubey Memorial Award by IIT Kanpur for his campaign for bringing transparency in Governance.
He was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Emergent Leadership in 2006 for his involvement in Parivartan movement. He donated his award money as a corpus fund to found the NGO Public Cause Research Foundation.
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Personal Life & Legacy
He married Sunita, a batch mate from National Academy of Administration, in 1994. They have two children.
Top 10 Facts You Did Not Know About Arvind Kejriwal
He likes to watch Hindi movies and is a big fan of Aamir Khan.
Arvind Kejriwal cleared his IIT-JEE in his first attempt. He also cleared his Civil Services exam in the first attempt.
During his college days he never showed an inclination for politics and instead used to take active part in theatre.
He does not celebrate his birthday or the birthdays of his two children.
He practices Vipassana meditation technique regularly.
Kejriwal is the youngest chief minister of Delhi, since the city was converted into Union Territory (UT) in 1956. He was 45, when he became the chief minister. However, Chaudhary Brahm Prakash, who was Delhi’s chief minister from 1952 to 1955, before Delhi became UT, was 34, when he was sworn in.
He is the author of the book ‘Swaraj’ published in 2012.
His colleagues say that he sleeps very little, barely four hours a day.
Kejriwal passed out of IIT Kharagpur in 1989, the same year Google’s new CEO Sundar Pichai joined the institution.
While working as an IRS officer, he refused the services of a peon at his workplace. He used to clean his own desk.