Kejriwal was known as the brain behind the Anna movement. Anna Hazare wanted a joint committee to be formed, comprising members of the government and of civil society, to draft tougher anti-corruption legislation. Manmohan Singh, then Prime Minister of India, rejected Hazare’s demand and so Hazare began a hunger strike on 5 April 2011 at Jantar Mantar in Delhi.
Kejriwal played a major role in the campaign of 2011 which was called the Indian anti-corruption movement. He joined several other activists, including Anna Hazare and Kiran Bedi to form the India Against Corruption (IAC) group. They demanded the enactment of the Jan Lokpal Bill. NAC, in response to this, did draft a Lokpal Bill but it was criticized by the IAC group and Kejriwal on the grounds that it did not have enough power to take action against the prime minister or other officials.
Kejriwal was arrested when the IAC activists intensified their protests and Anna Hazare went on a hunger strike. Kejriwal attacked the government on various occasions. He was the most vocal proponent of the Ombudsman Bill.
Kejriwal entered politics when he and Anna Hazare had a difference of opinion. Hazare wanted the Jan Lokpal movement to be politically neutral. On the other hand, Kejriwal’s opinion was that as no progress had been attained through talks with different political parties, it was necessary to get directly involved in politics. An organisation named India Against Corruption conducted a survey in this regard. The result indicated support for politicisation. Others involved in the anti-corruption movement too had split opinions. While Kejriwal’s move was supported by Shanti Bhushan and Prashant Bhushan, others like Santosh Hegde and Kiran Bedi opposed it.
On 19 September 2012, Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal found that their differences over the formation of a political party to replace India against Corruption movement were irreconcilable. On 2 October 2012, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, Kejriwal announced the formation of a political party. He mentioned that the party would be formally launched on 26 November 2012. The Constitution of India was adopted on this day in 1949. The party was launched in Delhi on the scheduled date and was called the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) or the Common Man’s Party.
The party contested elections for the first time on 4 December 2013 for the Delhi legislative assembly. Arvind Kejriwal defeated Sheila Dikshit in the New Delhi assembly constituency, who had been the chief minister of Delhi for three successive terms.
Many people ridiculed his decision of entering into politics but just one year into politics, Kejriwal and his party were doing wonders. Winning by a massive margin of 25,864 votes, Kejriwal became the 7th chief minister of Delhi from December 28, 2013, to February 14, 2014.
He governed Delhi for only 49 days as he resigned from the post in Feb 2014 due to several controversies. The party hit a low when just 4 of its 400 candidates won in the Lok Sabha polls.
The National Capital Territory of Delhi went to polls on 7 February 2015 and saw a record electorate turnout of 67.14 percent. But the history was still to be made. Three days later, on 10 February 2015, the “Broom” of AAP swept the Delhi polls. The AAP registered a slam-bang victory by grabbing 67 seats of the available 70.
While taking his oath, he accepted that his party was over-ambitious in the 2014 elections. He affirmed to make Delhi a secure and corruption free city in India.
Kejriwal was born in an upper middle-class family in Siwani, Bhiwani district, Haryana. In 1992, he joined the Indian Revenue Service after clearing the Civil Services examination in the first attempt.
However, in 2006 he resigned from the post of Joint Commissioner in the Income Tax Department.
While working with the IT department, he assisted in forming the NGO Parivartan in December 1999 which addressed citizens’ grievances related to Public Distribution System (PDS), public works, social welfare schemes, income tax and electricity.
In 2003, Parivartan exposed a PDS scam, in which ration shop dealers were syphoning off subsidized food grains in collusion with civic officials.
Kejriwal came to be recognized as an important contributor to the campaign for a national-level Right to Information Act (2005) along with other social activists