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Arvind Kejriwal: The bulletproof monk of Delhi goes from a CM on strike to a striking CM

Kejriwal's first two stints as CM saw him continue in his activist avatar, now he resembled a superhero.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Feb 12, 2020, 10.13 AM IST
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Kejriwal, nevertheless, would face several challenges in his new stint as CM. He has tried to address issues related to basic amenities in the capital.
New Delhi: “I love you Delhi,” declared Arvind Kejriwal, as he blew a kiss and sent party workers into a frenzy. The underdog had won again! The activist-politician now resembled a superhero. For Kejriwal, seven years at the helm of a fledgling political party has been a long journey, finding himself and his politics. The beginnings were humble and unsure. His first two stints as chief minister saw him continue in his activist avatar. While his predecessor Sheila Dikshit used to seek time with the lieutenant-governor and iron out differences over transfers, Kejriwal preferred to sit on dharnas and demand files be signed. He and Cabinet colleagues would march from the CM residence in Civil Lines to the L-G’s office, raising slogans against him and the BJP government at the Centre.

But as he prepared for the 2020 polls, his aides saw a change in Kejriwal. From pointing a finger at the Centre for ‘not helping Delhi’, Kejriwal started concentrating on targeted programmes for the lowest socio-economic strata. Not a word was uttered against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “I respect the mandate of the people,” he said in a recent interview to ET, refusing to be drawn into any personal attack or comments against the Centre’s policies. It seemed like a well strategy to avoid comparison. Even as he warmed up for the electoral fight, he stayed away from personal attacks. As BJP leaders attacked him and his government, he ran his entire campaign positioning himself as ‘aam aadmi’ and ‘Dilli ka beta’ who was ‘insignificant’ before BJP bigwigs. He thus endeared himself to the masses who saw him as one of them. A ‘disruptor-activist’ on dharna was now the ‘superhero of good governance’.

Kejriwal, nevertheless, would face several challenges in his new stint as CM. He has tried to address issues related to basic amenities in the capital. But would he show the vision and political will to tackle complicated problems such as cleaning the Yamuna or air pollution? Would he restrict himself to remaining ‘Dilli ka beta’ or would the mandate tempt him to take another shot at national politics? The answers would be known in a couple of years.

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