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Win or lose, one thing's certain: Arvind Kejriwal's politics of activism has added a new dimension to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Notwithstanding the countless controversies the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has courted, Kejriwal and his brigade have occupied the mind space of a section of voters with their never-before-heard-or-seen brand of politics. HT looks back at the Top 10 moments of Kejriwal's journey in this election season.
1) Delhi gets a new CM
A bureaucrat-turned-social activist-turned-politician, Kejriwal made history on December 28, taking oath as the Delhi chief minister. He defeated three-term chief minister Sheila Dikshit. Riding on the anti-corruption slogan, the AAP scripted a stellar poll debut. On his first day in office, Kejriwal got busy and transferred nine top officials.
2) Chaos at janata darbar
A 7,000-strong crowd stormed the Delhi government's first janata darbar (people's court) on Januray 11, bringing down security barricades and jostling with an outnumbered police force in their determination to meet Kejriwal, who was forced to beat a hasty retreat. Kejriwal finally had to drop the idea of holding sessions of the much-talked-about people's court.
3) Power play, watershed moment
Delivering on his election promises, Kejriwal announced to provide 20 kilolitre water per month (approx 666 litres per day) free to the consumers with functional metres, while slashing electricity tariffs by 50% a couple of days after taking charge.
4) Hints at LS poll plunge
On January 18, Kejriwal for the first time hinted at fighting the Lok Sabha polls. In interviews with two TV channels, the AAP leader said he was ready to contest if the party wanted.
5) Khirki — an extended controversy
Kejriwal took to streets before the Republic Day, demanding action against police officials who refused to raid an alleged drug and prostitution ring in Khirki Extension, south Delhi, on the orders of law minister Somnath Bharti. The unprecedented government-run protest in the heart of the Capital triggered a massive row, as political rivals attacked Kejriwal. He later called off the stir.
6) Fall of the 49-day government
Kejriwal's government resigned on February 14 following a logjam in the assembly over a controversial jan anti-graft bill. He accused the Congress and the BJP of joining hands to bring down his government.
7) A short trip to Gujarat
Kejriwal visited Gujarat for four days in the first week of March, lambasted chief minister Narendra Modi's much-talked-about development model and triggered a chain reaction. Kejriwal and his supporters were let off shortly after being detained by the police in north Gujarat on March 5. The police, however, denied they detained the former Delhi chief minister. They claimed they were merely checking if the AAP had a permit to hold a rally in the area. Clashes broke out between workers of the AAP and BJP workers in half-a-dozen towns across the country after Kejriwal's detention.
8) The Bangalore resolution
At a rally in Bangalore, Kejriwal on March 16 said he was ready to take on BJP's prime ministerial nominee Modi in Varanasi, adding he would ask the people of the holy city if they wanted him in the fray. His announcement sent the political mercury soaring and made Varanasi one of the closely watched constituencies in the Elections 2014.
9) Kejriwal's holy dip
The AAP leader on March 25 declared in Varanasi that he would contest against Modi and challenged the BJP's prime ministerial nominee to a political debate. He faced an ink attack on his arrival to the holy city. Eggs were also thrown at his car. Later, his rally saw an impressive turnout. Kejriwal also took a dip in the Ganges. His forehead was smeared with sandalwood paste as he came out of the Kashi Vishwanath temple, a Varanasi landmark.
10) The common man spews fire
On April 29, Kejriwal came down heavily on the BJP, blaming it for triggering an "atmosphere of terror" and asking whether it had any tacit pre-poll understanding with the Congress. His attack came a day after AAP volunteers were attacked, allegedly by BJP workers, in Varanasi. "I am confident that Narendra Modi will and it will be a historic defeat," he said.