- POSTED: 18 Jan 2014 17:31
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With his maverick leadership style and approach to governance, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has not only captured the imagination of the media but also the common people.
NEW DELHI: With his maverick leadership style and approach to governance, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has not only captured the imagination of the media but also the common people.
Kejriwal has become a media sensation because of his unconventional style. In a short period of time, the former revenue officer has gained a strong following and is now threatening the big players of Indian politics.
By forming a government in Delhi state, Kejriwal, who is from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), has shown that he is not just a media creation but a force to be reckoned with.
The AAP, otherwise known as the common man's party, has ushered in a new approach to governance in the Indian capital.
The party is based on a participatory model, minus all the trappings of power, and Kejriwal has set himself up as a prime example.
The chief minister travels in a private car and has refused palatial government bungalows like his predecessors. He dresses simply unlike his rivals who wear starched silk tunics and pashmina shawls in the cold winter season in Delhi.
Kejriwal has even refused security as he moves about in the city, placing the Delhi police in a quandary.
And he brushed away the threats with minimal fuss.
"There is no threat to my life. The lifeline on my palm is very long. There is no danger to me. I don't want any security, I have said many a times," he said.
The austerity measures introduced by his AAP have started to win people over.
More importantly, the locals feel the actions taken by Kejriwal are taking them back to the times when politicians lived like common Indians, stood in queues and did not have extraordinary privileges.
Grudging admiration has also come from some rival politicians too.
Chief Minister of the western Indian state of Rajasthan has reduced her security detail while the Chief Minister of Jharkhand state has asked his ministers to remove the sirens and beacons from their cars
The right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is currently experiencing an upswing, is now nervous about the rising popularity of Kejriwal and his AAP party.
"Basically the Aam Aadmi Party is a party of hypocrites. They preach one thing and they practice another thing," said BJP leader Balbir Punj.
The AAP is barely a year old and has just three months to form a national agenda and prove that it is not just a Delhi-centric party.
Hundreds of thousands from urban India are enrolling into the party ranks, vowing support for Kejriwal.
AAP leader Yogendra Yadav has also backed Kejriwal to be the country’s next prime minister.
"Definitely, I would want him (Kejriwal) to be our PM and I believe he is capable enough," he said.
For a new party, the AAP has performed remarkably with its showing in Delhi. Its strong support reflects the popular mood that is growing in India where voters are seeking for a fundamental change on how the country is governed.
It is therefore crucial for Kerjiwal's anti-corruption agenda to start producing results as this will be the litmus test before general elections.