Prakash Jarwal is the youngest of the 28 AAP MLAs who won in the Delhi Assembly election. The 25-year-old was confident of his victory from Deoli, but the winning margin — 17,000 votes more than the BJP’s Arwinder Singh — came as a pleasant surprise.
“I knew I would win as AAP had tremendous influence over the people in my constituency,” he says. “However, I wasn’t expecting such a big win. I thought I would get some 8,000 votes more than my rival.”
With assets worth a mere Rs 1.64 lakh, Jarwal is one of the poorest among the new crop of AAP MLAs.
Armed with a master’s degree in commerce from Delhi University, Jarwal was working as an assistant manager at a multinational financial firm until as late as October.
“I used to work as a financial analyst when Anna Hazare launched the India Against Corruption movement,” he recalls. “I was amazed that simple folks like Anna and Arvind Kejriwal could hold such an influence over lakhs of people. Their struggle struck a chord inside me. I began attending the IAC sessions. One fine day, while coming back from work, I got to know that Kejriwal was undertaking a fast at a slum against high power tariffs. That’s when I decided to join the party.”
Jarwal’s inexperience in politics and the fact that he was new didn’t come in the way of his rise as a local leader in Deoli, often identified with unauthorised colonies where the ration and water mafia rule the roost.
“I was born here and have lived all my life in this area,” he says. “So, it helped me garner the people’s support. The mafia has, so far, not tried directly to stop me from doing good work. But I’m prepared to face them as one of my top priorities as the people’s representative is to streamline the working of PDS shops and provide water connections to unauthorised colonies in Deoli.”
Despite his decision to quit a corporate job and take a plunge into the uncertainties of politics, Jarwal’s family has steadfastly supported him.
“My parents and siblings support me for what I’m doing,” he says. “I have a huge task of fulfilling everybody’s expectations.”