Kejriwal: “An Insignificant Man” or a corrupt politician with impending prison term

How AK's image as a crusader against corruption began to tarnish, and turned into a “corrupt” politician

How AK's image as a crusader against corruption began to tarnish, and turned into a “corrupt” politician
How AK's image as a crusader against corruption began to tarnish, and turned into a “corrupt” politician

Arvind Kejriwal: Journey from anti-corruption crusader to liquor ‘scam’ accused

Whether one believes in destiny or fate, they mysteriously influence lives. Today, we discuss one such modern-day “asura” like personality, none other than the sitting Chief Minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal (AK). His checkered history includes a career professional turned into a protestor, rising to be a politician, and now heading to prison with charges of money laundering worth about $12 million (100 crore INR) in a liquor scam.

In his heyday as a “clean” politician, AK inspired a documentary, “An Insignificant Man,” in 2016. Today, he is in the media spot since taken into custody by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). This insignificant man used his political muscle to defy not just one or two but nine summons by ED. His continued defiance came to a screeching end when the court refused his preemptive bail against potential arrest by ED.

Clearly, ED had sufficient evidence against AK to convince the court of alleged money laundering not to grant preemptive bail. ED took AK in custody the same evening. Ironically, AK and his misguided allies approached SC for an expedient hearing which was later withdrawn. Then AK moved to the High Court for an expedited hearing on the weekend which was turned down. There is potentially a lot more about AK’s alleged “asura” like character than meets the eye. It is my informed view that AK may be behind bars longer similar to his political cronies in the same liquor scandal.

Who is AK? An IIT-educated AK succeeded in the UPSC civil services and joined the Indian Revenue Services. He served for about 10 years before resigning in 2006 as a Joint Commissioner of Income Tax. AK successfully used the RTI (Right to Information) Act in Delhi (later a law across Bharat), to fight corruption cases against several government departments, particularly in Delhi.

His passion as a social activist, crusader, and protester against corrupt practices gained momentum over time. He started a campaign for transparent governance at various levels of the government as a key figure in the India Against Corruption (IAC) of the Anna Hazare team. With IAC heating up, AK’s personal involvement and political ambitions began to rise too.

Along the way, when the Aam Adami Party (AAP) was formed, AK and Hazare had irreconcilable differences. It may never be known why but AK started to have an absolute craving for power while using Hazare’s clean image as a cover for his political ambitions. Thus, Hazare chose to take a self-directed divorce from AK and the AAP.

When AK realized that the anti-corruption movement had run its course, he took command of the people’s movement as AAP. AK deserves credit for leading AAP in the Delhi Assembly elections in 2015 with an irrefutable, resounding, and unprecedented win (a stunning 67 of 70 seats). I was in India and recall visiting someone in the Ministry of Human Resources that day. Everyone was ecstatic because AK had genuinely earned the image of Aam Adami and people were ready for a change.

An intelligent AK used politically appropriate language on the campaign trail. He was preaching for the sovereignty of the people, bringing a moral political order, and devolving power to strengthen the grassroots. He campaigned to bring the best of capitalism and socialism for Aam Adami. AK was leading a party consisting of a good mix of reputable academics, lawyers, technocrats, actors, and holy men many of whom including Hazare left AAP since. He promised to uphold the well-being and collective will of the people. What more could be expected of this insignificant man with an already developing asura-like character underneath?

AK’s political ambitions continued beyond the Delhi Assembly victory. He contested against Modi from the Varanasi Parliamentary constituency in 2014 and lost. That did not deter his political ambitions. AK continued to successfully expand AAP in Punjab, Goa, Gujarat, and the Center to be recognized as a national party. Undeniably, AK deserves credit but his image as a crusader against corruption began to tarnish, and turned into a “corrupt” politician.

He introduced the “freebie” culture in politics. He has been touted as the biggest liar. He promised to live like a common man but spent a huge sum of taxpayer’s money on remodeling CM’s residence, labelled Shisha Mahal (glass house). It is alleged that numerous irregular and unlawful acts were committed during the renovation with the tacit approval of AK.

The evil side of AK includes his asura-like tendencies, i.e. using his political muscle, economic strength of ill-gotten money, manipulating media with false advertising, and often blatant lies against other leaders to prove himself a visionary with no corruption. Recently, his asura-like character became very vocal against Dharmic Modi, the most celebrated leader of the world’s largest democracy.

Paraphrasing the words of Swami Saraswati, Dharmic people should rightfully use Dharma and truth with added justice, strength, and strategy (e.g. investigations by ED, CID, and PMLA) not to let Asuras defeat Dharma and truth. I surmise that if AK had not resisted the initial ED summons, he could have at least delayed his arrest until after the parliamentary elections. AK’s asura-like character and over-ambitious political power got him to the present state. It is further alleged that AK is not cooperating with ED which may prolong his prison term.

Bihar Model of Governance in Delhi: According to media reports, AK is unwilling to vacate the CM’s post while in jail. His party loyalists want AK to function as CM from the jail but the public pressure is mounting for him to resign on moral grounds. There are also legal and procedural challenges in running the office of the Head of State from the prison.
It is rumored that his wife, Sunita Kejriwal (SK), herself a career IRS like AK, maybe the next Chief Minister, a model once used in Bihar. The then Bihar CM Lalu Yadav was arrested in the fodder scam. He manipulated his political power to have his wife Rabri Devi as a rubber stamp CM.

Now, AK is accused in the liquor scam with a likely longer prison term. The history may repeat in that SK will be AK’s successor (Delhi’s Rabri Devi) but may not be a rubber stamp. In fact, SK was in control when the CM’s residence was being renovated. She is already appearing in the media from the CM Chair and office. Unlike Bihar’s circumstances, SK and AK meet every day during ED custody and thus an opportunity for mutually hatching a political plan.

What if not for the greed for money and power that a well-educated technocrat, Arvind Kejriwal, will first use anti-corruption measures to better his image? He then jumps into the political ring, falsely accuses everyone else of being corrupt, and ultimately gets himself corrupted in the liquor scandal. AK has squarely betrayed Aam Aadmi’s trust.

In the end, Satyamev Jayate must and will prevail.

1. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.
2. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.

For all the latest updates, download PGurus App.

Vijendra Agarwal, born in village Kota (Saharanpur, U.P), left India in 1973 after Ph.D. (Physics) from IIT Roorkee. He is currently a member of project GNARUS, a syndicated service and writers collective. He and his wife co-founded a US-based NGO, Vidya Gyan, to serve rural India toward better education and health of children, especially empowerment of girls. Vidya Gyan is a calling to give back to rural communities and keeping connected to his roots which gave him so much more. His passion for writing includes the interface of policy, politics, and people, and social/cultural activities promoting community engagement.

Formerly, a researcher in Italy, Japan, and France, he has widely travelled and came to the US in 1978. He was a faculty and academic administrator in several different universities in PA, TX, NJ, MN, WI, and NY, and an Executive Fellow in the White House S&T Policy during the Clinton administration.
Vijendra Agarwal



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here