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Arvind Kejriwal: The angry ‘aam admi’

TRN Correspondent, New Delhi: Arvind Kejriwal is an Indian social activist working under the banner of the anti-corruption front India Against Corruption. Kejriwal was actively involved in the Jan Lokpal bill movement which actually began when Anna Hazare started a fast at Jantar Mantar on April 5, 2011 demanding a strong Jan Lokpal Bill. India Against Corruption had announced indefinite fast from August 15, 2011 if the government neglected to pass the lokpal bill in the monsoon session of the parliament in August 2011. However a watered-down Lokpal Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha, but it could not be passed by the Rajya Sabha.

Then India Against Corruption came to a conclusion that 15 tainted ministers in the central cabinet are behind the delay in the process of release of a strong Lokpal bill. India Against Corruption demanded an establishment of a Special Investigation Team to investigate corruption charges against the 15 tainted cabinet ministers.These demands having been ruled out by the Government, Arvind Kejriwal along with associates Manish Sisodia and Gopal Rai sat on an indefinite fast at the Jantar Mantar beginning on July 25. Even after ten days of fasting, the Government did not respond to any of the demands. And so a group of 23 eminent citizens of the nation, including the Ex Army Chief/Naval Chief, retired Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, retired bureaucrats requested them to drop the fast and offer a political choice. After taking in the popular scene, India against Corruption decided to propel ahead with forming a political party.

Due to differences with Anna Hazare and Kiran Bedi, Kejriwal became active in matters of government. Anna even told Kejriwal not to use his public figure for political goals. However, Anna later met Kejriwal along with social activist Manish Sisodia on October 2 and averred that even though their ways were different, their goals were the same.

In October 2012, in a press conference, Kejriwal spoke of a nexus between realty firm DLF and Robert Vadra (son-in-law of Congress President Sonia Gandhi). He accused Vadra of taking an interest-free loan of Rs. 65 crores and heavy bargains on land from DLF in exchange for political favors. Kejriwal also alleged in the concluding week of October that BJP president Nitin Gadkari’s factories have robbed the farmers of Vidarbha in Maharashtra of their soil and water. He alleged that 100 acres of extra land that led to small farmers was transferred to companies owned by Nitin Gadkari in the garb of an irrigation project in Vidarbha. He too sounded out that extra land was not given to the farmers, despite a Maharashtra government ruling.

Media observers believe that Team Anna was built by the electronic media. To a large extent, the star attraction was the persona of Anna Hazare, a fakir-like figure who became a magnet for those desperately searching for a new ‘clean’ icon to contrast with the sins of the traditional politicians. Only Anna was at heart a folk activist who relished the cameras, but was never really at ease with the slice and thrust of national politics.

Kejriwal, by contrast, is a man in a hurry, impatient for change and ambitious enough to see himself as an agent of change.

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