Who is Arvind Kejriwal? - Indian Politician and Reformer

Full NameArvind Kejriwal
Current RoleChief Minister, Government of NCT of Delhi
Political PartyAam Aadmi Party
EducationBTech in Mechanical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur
Notable AwardsRamon Magsaysay Award for Emergent Leadership, CNN-IBN Indian of the Year in Public Service
Professional BackgroundFormer bureaucrat in the Indian Revenue Service, Founder of Parivartan
AdvocacyAnti-corruption, Right to Information, Public Distribution System reforms
Personal InterestsVegetarianism, Vipassana meditation

Arvind Kejriwal was born in Haryana, India, and pursued his higher education at the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur, where he completed a Bachelor of Technology in Mechanical Engineering from 1985 to 1989. IIT Kharagpur is renowned for its rigorous engineering programs and has produced many notable alumni who have excelled in various fields globally.

Professional Beginnings in Public Service

After completing his education, Kejriwal joined the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) in 1995 as an Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax in New Delhi. His time at the IRS was marked by a growing disillusionment with the rampant corruption he witnessed within the government bureaucracy.

Advocacy and Parivartan

In response to the corruption, Kejriwal founded Parivartan in 1999, an NGO aimed at addressing citizen issues related to the Public Distribution System (PDS), public works, and income tax. Parivartan played a crucial role in utilizing the Right to Information Act to empower citizens and fight corruption at the grassroots level. This work led to significant public impact, particularly in making governmental processes more transparent and accountable.

National Recognition and Awards

Kejriwal's efforts in advocacy and social reform have been widely recognized. In 2006, he was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Emergent Leadership, acknowledging his involvement in the grassroots movement Parivartan. He also received the CNN-IBN Indian of the Year in Public Service in 2013 and the Satyendra K. Dubey Memorial Award from IIT Kanpur in 2005, further cementing his reputation as a leading reformer in governance and public administration.

Political Career and the Aam Aadmi Party

Disillusioned with the limitations of social activism in effecting policy change, Kejriwal entered politics by forming the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in 2012. The party was born out of the popular 'India Against Corruption' movement, advocating for comprehensive reforms in government and public service sectors. As the National Convenor of AAP, Kejriwal has focused on anti-corruption, healthcare, education, and utility costs, significantly impacting Delhi's governance.

Tenure as Chief Minister

Kejriwal first became the Chief Minister of Delhi in December 2013 but resigned after 49 days due to an inability to pass the anti-corruption legislation he advocated for. He was re-elected in February 2015 and again in February 2020, each time with a substantial majority, reflecting strong public support for his governance model, which emphasizes transparency, accountability, and citizen-focused policies.

Personal Life and Interests

Beyond politics, Kejriwal is known for his simple lifestyle. He is a vegetarian and has been a practitioner of Vipassana meditation for several years, which he credits for helping maintain his focus and equanimity in his demanding political role.

Arvind Kejriwal's journey from a bureaucrat to a chief minister and a national political figure is a testament to his dedication to reform and public service, making him one of the most influential contemporary leaders in Indian politics.