In interviews to television news channels after the Aam Aadmi Party’s superlative performance in the Delhi Assembly election, Arvind Kejriwal repeatedly praised Rakhi Birla for her stunning victory over veteran Congress leader Raj Kumar Chouhan in the Mangolpuri constituency. Chouhan, the sitting MLA, was in charge of the PWD ministry in the Sheila Dikshit government.
The 26-year-old Birla, who is one of the youngest of the 28 AAP MLAs, defeated Chouhan, an MLA since 1993 for four consecutive terms, by more than 10,000 votes.
A former reporter with a television news channel, Birla has been actively involved in social service and worked with several social action groups in her area. Over the years, she has earned a name for espousing the cause of the Valmiki community, to which she belongs.
Birla is the youngest of four siblings. Her grandfather was a freedom fighter and is well-respected in Mangolpuri. Her father was associated with the Congress for a long time but quit the party in 2011, during the Jan Lokpal movement.
AAP activists from the area and party leaders describe Birla as a “clear-headed girl with lot of confidence” and someone who is willing to take on challenges in life.
With a surname like Birla, one might think that she hails from a wealthy family. But while filing her nomination papers, she declared assets worth a paltry Rs 51,150.