By Sfoorti Mishra
New Delhi, Feb 11 (IANS) As counting of votes for Delhi assembly elections proceeded at a steady pace on February 11, suggesting the turn of AAP to power, the party’s workers and volunteers thronged the party headquarters to felicitate Arvind Kejriwal. Interestingly, Valentine’s Day celebrated on February 14, has played a significant role in the rise and rise of Kejriwal, who is set to be sworn in as Delhi chief minister for the third time.
Coincidently, Kejriwal had stepped down on February 14, 2014 in his first term and was sworn in for the second term on February 14, 2015. The last 8 years have seen the evolution of Kejriwal from a bureaucrat to an anti-corruption crusader and finally a battle-hardened politician who has annihilated the Congress and is giving the BJP a run for its money in Delhi.
The former bureaucrat emerged as a household name during the ‘anti-corruption movement’ led by Anna Hazare. Kejriwal however gave a shock, not only to the people of Delhi but the entire country, when he parted ways with Anna and formed a political party, the Aam Aadmi Party, in 2012.
The Aam Aadmi Party emerged as a credible alternative to the Congress which was facing allegations of corruption on various counts. Kejriwal contested against the incumbent chief minister Sheila Dikshit in 2013 assembly elections and defeated her from New Delhi constituency by a huge margin.
Kejriwal assumed power in December 2013. His swearing-in ceremony was a dramatic one, at Delhi’s Ramlila ground, that witnessed thousands of people gathering and singing patriotic songs. This was the first time in the history of Delhi that a chief minister was sworn-in at a public venue amidst common people instead of in the formal settings of Lieutenant General’s residence.
But Kejriwal’s trajectory in the political corridors was not that easy though. His reputation was at stake when he failed to table the Lokpal bill in the first assembly session as promised. He stepped down from the chief minister’s post within 49 days, leaving the Delhi Assembly in limbo.
With his resignation, the AAP’s existence came under threat. Political gurus practically ruled out his comeback to power. But proving everyone wrong, Kejriwal bounced back to power with even more vigour and achieved a humongous majority, winning 67 of 70 seats, in 2015.
Along the way, he faced criticism from the public as well as politicians alike, for dumping his party co-founders like Yogendra Yadav, Prashant Bhushan and Kumar Vishwas.
With February 14 two days away, it would be interesting to see if Kejriwal opts for a Valentine’s Day swearing-in ceremony.