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HindustanTimes Wed,30 Jul 2014

10 big moves and moments in Kejriwal’s journey a month after he quit as Delhi CM

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, March 14, 2014
First Published: 20:12 IST(14/3/2014) | Last Updated: 00:05 IST(25/3/2014)

It is now a month of Arvind Kejriwal being referred to as the former chief minister of Delhi.
 
Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) let go of power on February 14 after failing to table their brand of anti-corruption legislation, the janlokpal bill, in the assembly.
 
Detractors said quitting power was a part of the AAP game plan all along, especially with the Lok Sabha polls up ahead.

Kejriwal and his party have a robust presence in the media, but they hit the headlines on Friday by accusing the media of having “sold out”.
 
Here is a look at the 10 big moments in Kejriwal and his party’s journey between Valentine’s Day and now, the accompanying controversies, the criticism and the praise.
 

1. Taking on Modi on his turf
 
Kejriwal headed to Gujarat on a “fact-finding” mission to check on chief minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s claims of development in the state.
 
On March 7, day 3 of his four-day roadshow in Gujarat, he posed 17 questions to Modi at a press conference and also made a futile bid to meet him.
 
He could not confront Modi with his questions, but amid criticism of his methods, Kejriwal became the talking point of the day.
 

2. Itching for a fight against Modi from Varanasi
 
The BJP is coy about Modi’s candidature, even as the buzz around Varanasi grows. The AAP, however, smartly let it be known on March 2 that Kejriwal will take on Modi from Varanasi.
 
Win or lose, a Modi versus Kejriwal contest will invariably become a big story till the Lok Sabha polls end. This will play out perfectly for the AAP, which is making its national debut after a stunning performance in the Delhi assembly polls.
 

Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal waves to his supporters during a road show in Mumbai ahead of Lok Sabha polls. (AFP photo)


3. Attacking the media, seen to be manipulating them too
 
Kejriwal and the AAP have been swift and smart in using the media, but the ties are souring fast. He is accusing the media of having sold out, and then going on the defensive, claiming he did not make such allegations.

TV channels in particular are playing his statements on a loop and he does not come out shining in them.
 
A leaked video — watched by millions — which shows him apparently trying to influence how is he projected in a TV interview has not helped him or the AAP.
 

4. Local train, auto travel triggers chaos in Mumbai
 
Kejriwal’s visit to Maharashtra, marked by his chaotic local train and autorickshaw travel in Mumbai, reportedly tested the nerves of some locals. He again blamed the media for the “whole tamasha (drama)”.
 
On Thursday, the Mumbai Police registered a case against Kejriwal and his supporters on the charge of unlawful assembly.
 
Amid all the loud sound bites, the AAP leader kicked-off his campaign and also took out a ‘Jhaadu Chalao Yatra’ through Mumbai streets with AAP Lok Sabha nominees Medha Patkar and Meera Sanyal.
 
He held a roadshow traversing south Mumbai and also attended a private fund-raising meeting.
 

5. Staying in official house even after quitting as CM
 
Kejriwal has not vacated his official flat in central Delhi’s Tilak Lane despite resigning as CM. He has, however, offered a reason that many would be willing to buy. He wants to stay put in the house for a few months because of his daughter’s Class 12 examinations.
 
Nevertheless, the Union urban development ministry has sent the Delhi administration — under President’s rule — a notice in this regard.
 
 
6. Violence outside BJP office
 
The AAP has fans for being combative and challenging the established order, but even Kejriwal probably did not bargain for the violence by his party’s supporters outside the BJP headquarters in Delhi.
 
The violence broke out after Gujarat Police stopped Kejriwal from going to meet Modi. Kejriwal, who was in Gujarat, apologised on behalf of his party workers for the violence.
 
“I apologise on behalf of the workers who turned violent outside the BJP office. We will not engage in violent protests in the future,” he said even as the AAP image took a battering with footage of people donning ‘Main Hoon Aam Aadmi’ caps throwing stones. Images of an AAP supporter being beaten up while holding a broom — the party symbol — could go only so far to protect the distinct identity of the party that claims to draw its sustenance from common people.

A file photo of Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal during a rally in Gujarat. (Agencies)


7. Rinfra’s Rs. 100-cr defamation suit against AAP
 
On March 4, Anil Ambani-led Reliance Infrastructure (RInfra) filed a Rs 100-crore defamation suit in Bombay high court against the AAP, which alleged the power company had overcharged consumers in collusion with Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission.
 
Anil Ambani’s elder brother Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest man, has also come under attack from Kejriwal.
 
He has accused the Congress and the BJP of having a "setting" with Mukesh Ambani. The word "setting" used in this context by Kejriwal is a typical Indianism for an understanding on the sly.
 
Kejriwal has been targeting Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) and its chairperson Mukesh Ambani over the government’s decision to raise natural gas prices from April 1. According to Kejriwal, this is being done to benefit the businessman.
 
RIL has dismissed his allegations.
   
 
8. AAP founder member Ashok Agarwal quits, calls party pvt firm
 
Earlier this week, prominent AAP member Ashok Agarwal termed the party “a private limited company” before quitting its top decision-making unit, the national executive.
 
His exit came two days after AAP member Ashwini Upadhyay called Kejriwal a liar and a CIA agent, and Savita Bhatti, the party’s choice as Chandigarh candidate, opted out of the contest.
 
Agarwal, an advocate and social activist, was associated with the AAP since its inception in November 2012. Earlier, Agarwal had applied for a ticket to contest the Chandni Chowk seat. The party gave it to Ashutosh, a former journalist.
 

9. Donations rise as attacks mount
 
The AAP proclaims transparency in donations and over its fledgling career, this has paid off in difficult times. Every time the AAP seems cornered over an issue, the support is not only seen on the streets. The party’s coffers also swell.

The party saw a 260% jump in donations the day news of Kejriwal being “detained” in Gujarat hit the headlines.
 

10. Chartered flight and swanky car ride
 
Kejriwal’s common man credentials came under fire after he was driven in a swanky car and flown in a chartered plane to Delhi to attend a private media event. Kejriwal fended off the criticism on Twitter, saying the media group had paid for his travel. He also found an offensive opening amid the criticism, saying Modi and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi should come clean on whose planes they fly in and who pays for them.

Read: Top 10 Aam Aadmi Party controversies

Full Coverage: Arvind Kejriwal, a common man in politics


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