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PHOTOS: Arvind Kejriwal, the UNCOMMON chief minister

December 28, 2013 15:28 IST

Image: Arvind Kejriwal was sowrn in as the seventh chief minister of Delhi on Saturday
Photographs: @AAP_tivists/Twitter

Emerging as a mascot of an alternative brand of politics, engineer-turned civil servant Arvind Kejriwal has changed the political discourse to steer his Aam Aadmi Party to power -- a sweet revenge for the activist's fledgling party that was once branded as "mango people in a banana republic".

Leading from the front, the 45-year-old leader of the AAP anchored his campaign in an unconventional way to see it become the second largest party in the Delhi assembly elections with a stunning showing that halted the

15-year rule of the Congress.

With interests of the common man at the core of AAP's agenda, Kejriwal's triumph over three-time chief minister Sheila Dikshit to become her successor was the proverbial icing on the cake to earn him the tag of 'giant killer'.

Arvind Kejriwal, the UNCOMMON chief minister

Image: Kejriwal and his aide Manish Sisodia sleeping at a railway platform in New Delhi

The country's newest star on the political horizon, who tasted success at his very first outing at the hustings, was handed his most memorable nickname in an outburst by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra earlier this year when AAP was dubbed as "mango people in a banana republic".

Often called the anti-corruption man, the diminutive and bespectacled IITian and a former tax official has catapulted himself from one of the many proponents of an ombudsman to check graft to the force behind a widely popular people's movement.

Arvind Kejriwal, the UNCOMMON chief minister

Image: Kejriwal was detained during an anti-government protest

A renowned activist, who was dismissed as a political greenhorn, cemented his place in politics with an impressive political debut for his one-year-old AAP that challenged the political establishment.

Kejriwal has thrown the rulebook of Indian politics out of the window with his anti-corruption party that began as a social movement, tapping into the new energies fizzing all over India -- students, farmers, civil rights groups, NGOs, social activists, women’s groups and the urban youth.

Arvind Kejriwal, the UNCOMMON chief minister

Image: Kejriwal fixes an electricity connection in New Delhi

Born on August 16, 1968 in Hisar in Haryana to Gobind Ram Kejriwal and Gita Devi, he sent the entire political spectrum into a tizzy, attacking both the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress on the issues of corruption, exorbitant rise in power and water tariff, safety of women and had managed to make a dent in the vote banks of both the parties.

Belying all claims of being a "non-actor or no factor" in the Delhi assembly elections by Congress and BJP, Kejriwal, a man of simple tastes, came into prominence from the agitation by 75-year-old activist Anna Hazare in support of Jan Lokpal Bill in 2011.

Soft-spoken but a man with strong conviction, the Ramon Magsaysay award winner was part of the Team Anna, along with first woman Indian Police Service officer Kiran Bedi, Prashant Bhushan and others.

He was the civil society representative member of the committee constituted by the Government to draft the Jan Lokpal bill, following the campaign for introduction of such legislation.

Arvind Kejriwal, the UNCOMMON chief minister

Image: Kejriwal with the symbol of AAP along with his party men in New Delhi
Photographs: AAP/Facebook

After feeling "betrayed" by the government when it rejected their draft, the Congress and other leaders challenged them to join politics, win elections and come to Parliament if they wanted to "fight system from within", root out corruption and get the Jan Lokpal Bill passed.

Known for taking on challenges, the indefatigable activist decided to take a plunge into politics and formed the Aam Aadmi Party on November 26 last year, after a formal split of Team Anna.



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