Why is Arvind Kejriwal so often criticized

Arvind Kejriwal - "India's Julian Assange"

His followers reverently call Arvind Kejriwal the "Julian Assange of India". The 44-year-old Kejriwal has made it his life's work to finally effectively fight corruption in India, which reaches into the highest circles. The man with the distinctive mustache is actually considered shy. But on stage he transforms into a bundle of energy that whips the masses and pulls them under its spell.

Kejriwal (left) with his mentor, civil rights activist Anna Hazare

Kejriwal's mentor, civil rights activist Anna Hazare, wanted to force new laws through his hunger strikes to fight corruption in India. But Kejriwal is now choosing a different path: He wants to found a party to "clean up" the whole system, as he calls it. He sees himself as an advocate for the people and fearlessly puts influential personalities in the pillory. As fearless as Julian Assange from Wikileaks. Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid and Robert Vadra, son-in-law of Sonia Gandhi, the leader of the Congress party, were publicly accused by Arvind Kejriwal of embezzlement of funds and abuse of power. Khurshid is said to have called Kejriwal an "ant" that "messes with an elephant". The shot backfired. After that, Kejriwal was more popular than ever.

Corruption is widespread in India

Corruption in India is a widespread evil, says lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan: "This is why Kejriwal's struggle is so important." Whether it's buying a train ticket, installing a new power connection or issuing a marriage or death certificate: everyone in India is holding their hands. Some ministers, such as the former telecommunications minister A. Raja, are under investigation for irregularities in the issuing of mobile phone licenses. In the latest scandal over the sale of coal mines, dubbed "Coalgate" by the media, things are getting tight even for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. It's about millions.

"Enough!" Says the activist Prashant Bhushan, who has known Arvind Kejriwal for twelve years. "Our democracy has meanwhile been undermined. There is an enormous bureaucracy in authorities or city administrations that no longer feels obliged to the people." Kejriwal wants nothing less than to save India's democracy, says Bhushan: "There are only a few who have the courage to wage such a fight. Kejriwal has an incredible foresight. Only a few people are capable of doing such a thing."

Anna Hazare offers juice to his main supporter Arvind Kejriwal after the end of a protest hunger strike

From civil servant to taboo breaker

Kejriwal's life path is well suited to form a hero out of him. Born in 1968 in the north Indian state of Haryana into a middle class family, Kejriwal studied engineering at the renowned Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur. After graduating, he first worked for the conglomerate Tata and then became a tax officer. After more than fourteen years, he resigned from civil service in 2006, disaffected.

In 2000 he founded the non-governmental organization "Parivartan" (change). In 2006 he was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award, the Asian Nobel Peace Prize, for his services to a better society. Political scientist Salma Bava from Jawaharlal Nehru University sees Kejriwal's credibility as his greatest strength: "If you look at him, he appears to be a simple man. Nothing about him indicates luxury, neither his clothes nor his glasses. He's wearing also the white headgear of Gandhi. " In addition, according to Bava, people are fascinated when someone fearlessly and honestly says what they think.

Founding a party as a last resort?

And yet there is criticism of Kejriwal despite its great charisma. When Kejriwal announced a few weeks ago that he wanted to found a party, there were differences of opinion between Kejriwal and his mentor, civil rights activist Anna Hazare, who had started the mass movement with his hunger fast last year.

Arvind Kejriwal wants to found a party against corruption in India

The question that arose: Isn't Kejriwal, by founding his own party, in common with the very politicians he is so bitterly fighting? Kejriwal vehemently denied this at numerous rallies and vigorously distributed: “The rulers have dirty hands. They sold everything - coal mines, telecom rights, mountains, even a river. My party will return power to the people. "

Lots of open questions

How this is to be done is unclear to many - including the political scientist Salma Bava: "Until now, the philosophy behind the party is not at all clear," she warns. Real change is a lengthy process that takes years. "Exactly the points of criticism, the lack of transparency that Kejriwal is now criticizing, he will have to be measured against all of this." The activist Prashant Bhushan contradicts: "A real change in the political system of India can only be achieved from within," he claims. But do you need a party for that? That is the key question that is hotly debated in the Indian public at the moment.