NEW DELHI: Arvind Kejriwal, the firebrand activist who has successfully upset the uneasy balance of power in Delhi's political scene, is all set to become the national capital's chief minister.
Here's looking at what makes the AAP chief 'Kejriwall'
Kejriwal the man
Born: August 16, 1968 in Hisar, Haryana
Mother: Gita Devi. He also has a younger brother and sister
Marriage: Kejriwal married Sunita, IRS officer, his batchmate from civil services training days in Mussoorie. The two joined the IRS together
Personal life: Kejriwal is a vegetarian and keen practitioner of Vipassana for many years
1985: Joined IIT, Kharagpur, for degree in mechanical engineering
1989: Joined Tata Steel, posted at Jamshedpur. Took leave to study for civil services entrance
1992: Quit job. Spent time in Kolkata, at the Ramakrishna Mission in north-east India
1995: Joined Indian Revenue Service after clearing civils entrance in first shot. In between, met Mother Teresa, worked with her
1999-2000: Took a two-year sabbatical on condition that upon resuming his work he wouldn't resign for at least three years. He initiated movement Parivartan. Focused on assisting citizens in navigating income tax, electricity and food ration matters
2003: Rejoined IRS, worked for 18 months. Continued social work, activism
2006: Won Ramon Magsaysay Award for helping enact RTI Act. Resigned from IRS. Donated Magsaysay award money as corpus to found NGO Public Cause Research Foundation
2011: Zoomed into public glare, political ire and national stage with Anna Hazare's fast to pass the Jan Lokpal bill
2012: Launched Aam Aadmi Party
Dec 2013: Defeated three-term CM Sheila Dixit in Delhi assembly election by 25,864 votes
The systems man
Kejriwal has in the past spoken well of the Delhi Metro. Unlike the Indian Railways, he says, the capital's metro service isn't a sea of confusion and chaos. And that's because the service has correct systems in place. He owns a car but has been known to take the metro frequently to work.
Colleagues close to the AAP leader say he's fastidious and would cross out documents, mark them in red, make repeated alterations just to ensure it is to his liking — perfect and just the way he'd like it to be. He is never tired of revising and revising the lokpal draft, for instance, making margin jottings during his innumerable meetings with senior colleagues, typing, chopping, changing paragraphs, sentences and words.
He's known to be a demanding man to work with, more respected than feared. Colleagues say they've hardly seen him lose temper. He doesn't take people to task but when miffed, instead takes on the task himself. When annoyed, colleagues say he goes quiet and retreats into his offi ce, shutting the door behind him.
Only the best
Kejriwal finished school in 1985 and decided he would go to IIT. His dad Gobind Kejriwal advised him to apply to other engineering colleges as well but Kejriwal said he wouldn't even consider joining such an option. He had set his mind on going to the best engineering college in the country and wouldn't settle for anything less.
'Papa mein hai dum'
In an interview to a newsmagazine, Kejriwal's 12-yr-old son Pulkit proudly said his dad was enough for all the opponents. Because "papa mein hai dum". Daughter Harshita (17) is equally proud, their teachers and seniors are AAP followers. Kejriwal's believes the way his son's life has played out shows he has "god's blessings". Thus, "No one can harm my son."
Rock of support Sunita
His wife Sunita, also an IRS officer, is the family's backbone. Kejriwal's mother Geeta Devi recalled to reporters the day her son called up to say he had found the girl he wanted to marry. And how they went on to have "an arranged marriage" . Down-to-earth Sunita said she treats her husband's job, as any other. She told a magazine last year, "I just want him and the kids to remain least affected by all this."
A man possessed
Kejriwal's energy levels are unbelievably high, and party colleagues say he sleeps barely four hours a day. The night before Anna Hazare's Ramlila Maidan fast, he and other senior leaders spent the night at Kiran Bedi's house. Colleagues say Kejriwal coughed through the night. The next morning, he nibbled at a plain toast, drank a cup of milk and was off to the venue in a flash.
Averse to ceremony
In the revenue service, Kejriwal was Spartan, no-nonsense and absolutely upright. He refused to have a peon, cleaned his own desk, emptied his dustbin and studiously avoided office get-togethers. Those who saw him then recall how he'd be seen at a tea stall near his office or else in his office room, withdrawn, doing his work. A man who is apparently averse to ceremony, he does not celebrate his birthday and those of his children.
First day lessons
On the first day of his job in 1995 in the Indian Revenue Service (IRS), Kejriwal recalls what a senior official told him: the 27-year-old was advised how to make money at the start of one's career and then "pretend to be an honest officer for the rest of his life". A shocked Kejriwal said it impacted the shape his career took, from a small bureaucrat to activist to politician.
Kejriwal was at an RTI event in 2006 the day he got to know he had been awarded the year's Magsaysay Award. He had spoken nonstop, engaging students and activists to file RTI applications when his phone rang. He took the call and later informed a colleague he had received the prestigious award. Moments later, he was back at what he was doing, normal as ever.
Kejriwal is known to perk up the mood of his officewallahs with impromptu treats of patties or ice cream for the entire staff. He takes time out to chat with people and doesn't let phone calls break the conversation.
Delhi's CM-in-waiting has been provocative and outspoken in front of TV cameras, unbelievably blunt at times. Senior colleagues such as Prashant Bhushan have been seen straining and trying their best to rein him in. The Kejriwal of the early days and the man now are somewhat different, he appears a lot more restrained and mellowed.
Though he has "hardly got any time" with his family the last year, Kejriwal said in an interview he liked to take his kids to watch films. He is a fan of Aamir Khan and admires his work and enjoys comedies as well.
A regular student
His IIT batchmates say his foray into activism and politics was a bolt out of the blue for them. In his college days, Kejriwal never professed an interest in either going out with friends to play cards or for a round of drinks. Friends remember him as being more interested in theatre than academics.
His close friends from college days helped him raise loans to reimburse the government when he took his voluntary retirement from the civil service after he had taken two years' paid study leave. In fact, it's his friends reportedly who pitched in with Rs 25,000 every month for a living so he could continue his fight against corruption. Kejriwal said the remaining expenses were borne by wife Sunita, an additional commissioner in the income-tax department.
Once out of IIT Kharagpur, Kejriwal joined Tata Steel in Jamshedpur, and apparently liked the job. He admired the hard work and sincerity the workers displayed. He served the company for three years and returned to Delhi because he wanted to take the civil services exam. His dream was to join the police service, but he qualified for Indian Revenue Service.
On breaking his two-week fast in April 2013, Kejriwal talked of what gave him the strength. "I'm diabetic. When I started my fast doctors said I wouldn't live beyond two days but I survived and fasted for 15. If you walk on the path of truth all the powers in the universe help you".