Invited to speak on entrepreneurial ventures at a Delhi college, Aam Admi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal's speech drifts towards politics and anti-corruption, but he still manages to impress the students, reports rediff.com's Priyanka
From giving a precise definition of who qualifies as an aam admi to answering questions on whether he entered politics to become rich and famous, the convener of the Aam Admi Party Arvind Kejriwal addressed these questions and many more as he stood before an audience of probing students on Tuesday.
Kejriwal was invited to deliver the keynote lecture at Sri Guru Gobind Singh College of Commerce’s annual business event, Bizhawk, on Tuesday afternoon. The event was organised by the Entrepreneurship Cell at Sri Guru Gobind Singh College of Commerce, near Pitampura in Delhi.
The organising committee informed that though they had initially wanted to invite executives from a few MNCs, they all later agreed to invite Arvind Kejriwal to the college. The college got in touch with him a month ago and had wanted him to speak about entrepreneurial ventures.
“We had all seen Arvind Sir mobilising the youth, and hence we thought he would be the right person to talk about entrepreneurship,” Vikas Jaipuria, president of the organising committee of SOCH said.
Arvind Kejriwal arrived at the college on time and soon made his way to the ground near the college’s sports facility. The first question he asked students was whether it was okay if he spoke in Hindi. He spoke for the next hour and a half.
The speech, however, did not turn out to be about entrepreneurship or business, but rather, it was about corruption and anti-corruption laws, flaws in the governing systems, and to some extent, the Aam Admi Party.
“Well, we had more or less expected that the speech would drift towards politics and political parties, but had still hoped some issues on business would be addressed,” an apologetic Vikas said later.
Kejriwal took questions from students -- a few tough ones on his association gone sour with social activist Anna Hazare, and the way forward. Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi too had addressed college students on February 6, but did not take any questions from the students or the media.
Sarbani, a first year student of Economics (hons) at the college asked Kejriwal, “who is the aam admi. Is it the middle class, most of who lead a pretty comfortable life, or is it somebody who earns much less, about Rs 5000 a month?” Kejriwal promptly replied that anybody who is tired of the corruption in our system is an aam admi, no matter which income group he belongs to.
“I had always wanted to know who the aam admi is. He cleared my doubt,” Sarbani said later.
A professor at the department of Economics, Renu Gupta, said she liked that Arvind Kejriwal was quite frank and approachable. She seems to agree on most of the points he raised. “He gave examples of how decisions in other countries are taken democratically, which is quite right. Where does that happen in our country,” she asked.
In response to a statement made by social activist Anna Hazare, who had said that Arvind Kejriwal joined politics to gain power, he (Kejriwal) said that he didn’t know why Anna Hazare chose to make that comment. “If I wanted to make money I would have continued my job in the Indian Revenue Services,” he said.
Kejriwal’s repeated assurances that the Aam Admi Party intended to stay in close touch with the people seems to have won quite a few students over. Tulika, a third year student of B Com (hons) affirmed that she would vote for the party in the next elections. “Yes, definitely, I will vote for the Aam Admi Party,” she said.
Many students enjoyed the question and answer session, and admitted that Kejriwal was quite straightforward. Many students hovered around him and he briefly inspected the ongoing business festival at the college premises. Many of them took pictures and shook hands with him.
Though a large number of students were visibly excited, a few students opined that many had come to merely have a look at Kejriwal and were not so keen in understanding his point of view.
“But still, he gave us an insight,” said Tanu Singhal, a second year student of Economics (hons). “He is telling us how corrupt the systems are and we cannot turn a blind eye to them,” she said. She cited Kejriwal’s earlier speech where he had spoken about how money once lost to corruption is never recovered.
Tanu and her classmate Varsha made a few observations about Kejriwal’s lecture.
“I think many people had started gaining politically out of the revolution Arvind Kejriwal and Anna Hazare had initiated,” Tanu argued, “And hence I quite agree with Kejriwal when he says that he had to come forward.”
“I think I will vote for Aam Admi party,” Tanu says confidently. “He has shown us the way, how an average person can rise against the system instead of just blaming everybody. I feel it is a party that really wants to do something for the country.”
Her classmate Varsha Jain, also a second year student of Economics said, “I wanted to ask him how he will actually implement Swaraj once he comes to power.”
The friends were divided on who could be a youth icon. While Tanu had already made clear of her vote to Kejriwal, Varsha said she would rather vote for Narendra Modi.
“I am still not sure of what he (Kejriwal) can achieve, but with Modi, I have the live example of Gujarat, and I know what he can do,” Varsh said.
Three friends, Chayan, Dhruv and Ashish too were divided on who they would consider a youth leader, Aam Admi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi or Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi.
“Kejriwal’s lecture was simple and clear. He knows what he talking about,” said Chayan Gera, a final year student of B Com (hons). “He connected with everybody.”
“He (Kejriwal) isn’t the type of leader who will tolerate nothing other than applauding to what he says. He was open to criticism,” observed Ashish Pathi, also a final year student.
They said they agreed with many issues Kejriwal had raised, but weren’t sure if they would give him their vote.
“Yes, he (Kejriwal) has shown us the way, but I would still trust Modi. He has proved with Gujarat what he can achieve,” said Dhruv Suri emphatically.