Arvind Kejriwal, the Aam Admi Party (AAP) Supremo, remains an enigma due to being his “Chameleon” (a person who often changes their beliefs or behavior to please others or to succeed). Like personality, behavior changes best suited to changing environmental and political situations to achieve his end objective: by “Hook or Crook”, reach the pinnacle of politics in India – the Prime Minister.
Viewed broadly, Arvind Kejriwal’s personality and behavioral traits are highly complex. Neither ideology worries him, nor do key features like ethics, morals, values and mental, ethical qualities bother him. Arvind Kejriwal is highly calculative in all his moves: exploits and attempts to seize opportunities disregarding its fallout political opportunism. His behavioral pattern is a product of contextual inherited life-altering experiences, including current “do or die” vicious politics.
Can such a controversial character be expected to steer the nation on an even keel? A key milestone of Arvind Kejriwal’s life story is reviewed broadly. Born in the Agrawal community – Bania in Haryana in August 1968, none can deny credit to Arvind Kejriwal for his academic par excellent intellectual credentials, graduate in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Kharagpur. He served in TATA Steel, Jamshedpur, from 1989 to 1992. He resigned and spent some time in Kolkata), where he met Mother Teresa and volunteered with The Missionaries of Charity and at the Ramakrishna Mission in North-East India and Nehru Yuva Kendra.
In 1995, Arvind Kejriwal qualified in the Civil Services Examination and joined the Indian Revenue Service as an Assistant Commissioner of Income. His service was riddled with controversy. While in service in December 1999, Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and others founded Parivartan change and a NON registered NGO in Delhi. Parivartan addressed citizens’ grievances related to Public Distribution System (PDS), public works, social welfare schemes, income tax and electricity. It ran on individual donations, a Jan Andolan movement. By 2000, the Parivartan organized the activities, including filing a public interest litigation (PIL) demanding transparency in public dealings of the IT department and organizing Satyagraha outside the Chief Commissioner’s office and electricity department.
In January 2000, Arvind Kejriwal took two years of paid leave to pursue higher education on the condition that he would not resign from service on resuming work for at least two years. On rejoining, Arvind Kejriwal kept getting his salary without doing any work. After working for 18 months, Arvind Kejriwal applied for leave without pay. For the next 18 months, Kejriwal was on sanctioned unpaid leave.
When the Delhi government enacted a state-level RTI Act in 2001, Parivartan used to help people get their work done in government departments without paying a bribe. In 2002, the group obtained official reports on 68 public works projects and performed a community-led audit to expose misappropriations worth 7 million in 64 projects. In 2003 (and again in 2008), Parivartan also exposed a PDS scam. In 2004, Parivartan also stopped the World Bank-aided project for the water supply privatization, which would have resulted in a likely ten-fold hike in water tariffs. The project was stalled as a result of Parivartan activism. So also, the Parivartan-led movement resulted in a court order that required private schools, which had received public land at discounted prices, to admit more than 700 poor kids without a fee.
Next, in 2005, Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia launched “KABIR” – a registered NGO. According to Arvind Kejriwal, Kabir was mainly run by Sisodia. Unlike Parivartan, KABIR accepted institutional donations.
Finally, in February 2006, Arvind Kejriwal resigned as Joint Commissioner of Income Tax in New Delhi. Ultimately, Arvind Kejriwal paid Rs.927 787/- as dues but stated that this should not be considered an admission of fault. Meanwhile, in 2006, Arvind Kejriwal was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Emergent Leadership in recognition of his involvement in Parivartan. In December 2006, Arvind Kejriwal established the Public Cause Research Foundation with Manish Sisodia and Abhinandan Sekhri. He donated his Ramon Magsaysay Award prize money as a seed fund. And Prashant Bhushan and Kiran Bedi served as the Foundation’s trustees.
In 2010, Kejriwal protested against corruption in the Commonwealth Games. He argued that the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) had no power to take action against the guilty. At the same time, CBI was incapable of launching an unbiased investigation against the ministers. He advocated the appointment of public ombudsman Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas in the states.
In 2011, Arvind Kejriwal joined several other activists, including Anna Hazare and Kiran Bedi, to form India Against Corruption (IAC) group. The IAC demanded the enactment of the Jan Lokpal Bill. The campaign evolved into the 2011 IAC movement. The Government convened the draft committee for the NAC Bill. Arvind Kejriwal was one of the civil society representative members of this committee. Arvind Kejriwal alleged that the IAC activists had an unequal position in the committee, and the government appointees kept ignoring their recommendations. The Government argued that the activists could not blackmail the elected representatives through protests. Kejriwal retorted that democratically elected representatives functioned like dictators.
Furthermore, Arvind Kejriwal and other activists criticized the NAC’s Bill because it did not have enough powers to take action against the Prime Minister, the judiciary and others. The activists also criticized the procedure for selecting Lokpal, the transparency clauses and the proposal to disallow the Lokpal from taking cognizance of public grievances.
However, Arundhati Roy claimed that the IAC movement was not a people’s movement; instead, foreigners funded it to influence policymaking in India. She pointed out that the Ford Foundation had funded the Emergent Leadership category of the Ramon Magsaysay Award and donated $397,000 to Arvind Kejriwal’s NGO Kabir. Arvind Kejriwal denied the allegations that the movement was a plot against the ruling Congress by the RSS or that it was an upper-caste conspiracy against the Dalits.
The IAC activists intensified their protests, and Anna Hazare organized a hunger strike. Arvind Kejriwal and other activists were arrested for defying a police directive to give a written undertaking that they would not go to JP Park. Arvind Kejriwal attacked the Government and said there was a need for a debate over police power to detain and release people at will. Finally, in August 2011, the Government and the activists settled.
By January 2012, the Government backtracked on its promise to implement a strong Jan Lokpal, resulting in another series of protests from Kejriwal and his fellow activists. These protests attracted lower participation compared to the 2011 protests. One of the major criticisms directed at the Jan Lokpal activists was that they had no right to dictate terms to the elected representatives. As a result, Kejriwal and other activists decided to enter politics and contest elections. By mid-2012, Kejriwal had replaced Anna Hazare as the face of the remaining protestors. In November 2012, they formally launched the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP); Kejriwal was elected as the party’s National Convener. The AAP was established in Bangalore in July 2013 of AAP. After joining politics, Arvind Kejriwal claimed in 2013 that he had chosen public service over earning crores as an Income Tax Commissioner. The IRS association pointed out that he has never been promoted to the rank of Commissioner of Income Tax.
In the 2013 Delhi Legislative Assembly elections, Arvind Kejriwal contested against the incumbent Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and defeated the incumbent Chief Minister in New Delhi by 25,864 votes. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 31 seats, followed by AAP with 28 seats. However, Arvind Kejriwal formed a minority government in the hung Assembly, with outside support from the eight INC MLAs, one Janata Dal MLA and one independent MLA.
On February 14 2014, Arvind Kejriwal resigned as Chief Minister after failing to table the Jan Lokpal Bill in the Delhi Assembly. He recommended the dissolution of the Assembly. Arvind Kejriwal blamed Congress and the BJP for stalling the anti-corruption legislation. In April 2014, he said he had made a mistake by resigning without publicly explaining the rationale. In 2015 during the second term of the AAP government, the Jan Lokpal Bill was passed. The cosmetic passage of the Jan Lok Pal Bill may have a different deterrence effect than puritans would like to believe. Such are the harsh realities of the “Corruption Capital Delhi”. Arvind Kejriwal’s “HUG” with Laloo Prasad Yadav, a convict for corruption in scams, reflects the most dramatic turnaround in his behaviour from being the ‘Champion or flag bearer of “IAC.”
Also, one must view Arvind Kejriwal’s personality assessment from the several defamation cases filed against him by his political opponents and his later apologies, including his 2014 apology to union minister Nitin Gadkari for his unverified allegations. The point of a list of most corrupt politicians; 2016 and 2018 – apologized to Bikram Majithia for involvement in the drug trade. Kejriwal apologized to Majithia a couple of years later in March 2018, and in 2016 and 2018 – Arvind Kejriwal, Sanjay Singh, Raghav Chaddha and Ashutosh apologized to Arun Jaitley for irregularities in the DDCA in a joint letter. Most important, in an affidavit to Election Directorate before the second term elections in 2015, Arvind Kejriwal had also declared that he has ten criminal charges and 47 total charges against him.
Arvind Kejriwal has self-proclaimed himself to be an ‘Anarchist’. Most importantly, Arvind Kejriwal took the first opportunity to bundle out the original founding members of the AAP Shanti Bhusan, Yogendra Yadav, Prashant Bhusan, Ashutosh, Kumar Vishwas etc. By doing so, Arvind Kejriwal demonstrated his intellectual versatility as an “Autocrat” bordering on narcissi personality. Consequently, many founding members in the states also disassociated with the AAP. Having been at the forefront of the IAC movement against the Congress Party’s corruption, Arvind Kejriwal sought the support of the Congress party to become the Chief Minister. Chastised by the electorate, Arvind Kejriwal exploited the opportunity provided by the Modi-led NDA for inaction against corruption to gain a thumping victory in the Delhi State Assembly elections.
On political views, Arvind Kejriwal advocates for the decentralization of Government and the involvement of the Panchayats in local decisions and budgets. Foreign multinational corporations’ power is reduced in the decision-making process of the Central Government, and the politicians at the centre must be held accountable for their actions and inaction after their election.
Most importantly, however, Arvind Kejriwal has been insulting Hindus and making and adopting anti-India and anti-Hindu policies. For example, Arvind Kejriwal, on several occasions, had questioned the need for a Ram Mandir. In 2014, Arvind Kejriwal mocked the intent and repeatedly said that the Government should instead build schools, colleges and hospitals. In August 2020, the official Twitter handled AAP shared pictures of Kanchenjunga in Sikkim, held sacred by both Hindus and Buddhists, Kamet Peak, and Nanda Devi hills in Uttarakhand, where lies a holy temple of Nanda Devi, an incarnation of the Hindu Goddess Durga. It drew analogies between these sacred peaks and a humongous landfill at Ghazipur in Delhi. The controversial tweet accompanied the caption, “Highest Mountains of India.” Ahead of the 2019 general elections, Kejriwal shared an image of a man with a broom hitting the Swastika symbol, holy to Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. Yet, in June 2021, AAP leader Sanjay Singh ran a misinformation campaign alleging funds misappropriations by the BJP and Ayodhya Ram Mandir Trust.
Arvind Kejriwal made a U-turn in 2020 when he declared himself a devotee of Lord Hanuman. He had also claimed that since Lord Hanuman is a devotee of Lord Ram, by extension, even he is so. Kejriwal has announced that after the Ram Mandir is constructed in Ayodhya, he will take the older adults from Delhi to Ayodhya for Darshan.
In 2016, the AAP faced widespread criticism, especially from the Sikh community, after it published a picture of the Golden Temple and the party symbol ‘broom’. On the title page of its youth manifesto and then compared the same with the Holy Scriptures of the Sikhs, Hindus, and Christians in a speech at its release.
Next, Arvind Kejriwal initially opposed the regularization of the Kashmiri Hindu teachers but relented on court orders in 2019 and failed to give permanent jobs to 233 Kashmiri Pundits. Arvind Kejriwal sparked outrage for his recent comments in the Legislative Assembly. He mocked ‘The Kashmir Files’ and implied that the Kashmiri Hindu genocide was ‘fake’ by calling the movie a “Jhoothi film “(full of lies). Criticizing BJP for supporting the film, he had asked the filmmakers to put the film up on YouTube for free.
Most significantly, Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP has always been at the forefront of providing tactical support to any protest or violence against Hindus. The anti-CAA demonstrations in 2020, culminating in the anti-Hindu Delhi riots, were a clear manifestation of planned genocide against Hindus living in Muslim-dominated areas. The AAP ran a misinformation campaign alleging that protests led by women at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh neighborhood against the CAA were “scripted and strategized” by the BJP for political gains. They claimed that the Shaheen Bagh shooter, Kapil Gujjar, who opened fire near the anti-CAA protest at Shaheen Bagh on February 1, was allegedly associated with the BJP and was inspired to pick up the gun. Senior leaders like Anurag Thakur and Delhi MP Parvesh Singh Sahib had ‘instigated him with slogans’. This conspiracy theory, however, fell flat when the Delhi Police revealed that the shooter belonged to the AAP, exposing the dangerous nexus between the Arvind Kejriwal led AAP and the shooter to instigate large-scale violence on the streets of Delhi.
Furthermore, Arvind Kejriwal and the AAP supported the “tukde tukde gang” and sheltered anti-Hindu Delhi riots kingpins Tahir Husain and Amanatullah Khan. The AAP government kept procrastinating and delaying the process of grant of sanctions to prosecute the “tukde tukde gang. After years of delay, in February 2020, the ruling AAP permitted the prosecution of Kanhaiya Kumar and others.
Arvind Kejriwal and the AAP nexus with the Khalistani are also real. AAP and other opposition parties, such as the Congress, supported the ‘farmers’ protest at the Singhu border against the Central Government’s farm laws, which were hijacked by Khalistani elements. AAP even provided the protesters at Singhu Border with free Wi-Fi. These Khalistani elements stormed the national capital on Republic Day 2021. In fact, after the AAP’s clean sweep in Punjab in the 2022 Assembly elections, the banned Khalistani organization SFJ had written a letter to the now Punjab Chief Minister and AAP leader Bhagwant Mann requesting that the AAP allow a Khalistani referendum. In a letter released by the SFJ, Gurpatwant Singh Pannun made a sensational allegation that Arvind Kejriwal -led AAP used Khalistan votes and funds to win Punjab. His latest protest over the AGNIPATH scheme is most concerned with the support of maintaining the status quo ante of the armed forces recruitment procedure and service conditions without having a clue about the need for advancing the combat capability of forces due to technology advancements. Recruiting shortages in skill sets ultimately result in capability shortages in combat. More significantly, investing in technology over personnel is a recipe for disaster.
They are viewed in the background personality behavioural pattern of abandoning professional careers and jumping into politics and fake, indulging in unsubstantiated campaigns and U-turns. Arvind Kejriwal and his followers are a band of “Autocratic-Anarchists” and self-centric opportunistic leaders pursuing power at all costs. Arvind Kejriwal has mastered the art and science of political opportunism. As of now, de facto, Arvind Kejriwal and his team are not political politicians of virtue, ethics and morality. Of course, their track record of providing services to society is poor.
In sum, what next “face or mask’ will Arvind Kejriwal and their ruthless pursuit of power govern his gang wear? Being an intellectual par excellence, Arvind Kejriwal will attempt to exploit all available opportunities to his advantage by vilifying rivals with utter disregard for its fallout on the people, the society and least on national security interests.