(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author, and not necessarily of Thomson Reuters)
The transformation of Arvind Kejriwal from taxman to anti-corruption activist and politician has been hard to ignore. He became something of a celebrity last year when he launched broadsides against rich, powerful people. That in turn gave him a platform to enter politics with his “Aam Aadmi Party” (party of the common man). Now Kejriwal, 44, must build a party in time to contest state-level elections in New Delhi this year.
After an hour-long election speech on a makeshift dais at a bus stand, the novice politician was visibly tired as he climbed into an off-white SUV for the journey home to Ghaziabad. I waited for him to stop coughing and take a sip of water before asking questions. We then had an animated, if one-note discussion about India’s economy and politics. The short story? Fix corruption and you fix everything else. Details about the economy, such as statistics and reports on inflation and economic growth? Just numbers for the media to repeat.
Q: The Indian economy is set to grow 5 percent in this fiscal year. What do you have to say about the way our economy is growing?
A: Economy does not work in isolation and all these figures of growth do not have any meaning for a common man. It keeps on increasing and decreasing, but the life of a common man is continuously getting more and more miserable in this country. And the politics of this country has become so corrupt that economy can’t prosper without checking corruption.