NEW DELHI: India’s anti-corruption activist Arvind Kejriwal swept to power last month on a promise of greater transparency and he began office Monday true to his word – admitting that a local restaurant had spoiled his first day.
Kejriwal, whose pledge to fight for India’s common man won over voters in New Delhi state polls, had been set to start governing the capital on Monday after being sworn in as chief minister over the weekend.
But after weeks of rallies in a gruelling election campaign that pitted him against the two main political parties, Kejriwal said he had fallen ill with diarrhea and a severe fever and could not come into the office.
“Running 102 fever since yesterday. Severe loose motions. Sad that I won’t be able to attend office today,” the former tax official tweeted on his verified Twitter account.
“It was so important to attend office today. We had planned the water announcement. God, bahut galat time par bimaar kiya (you’ve had me sick at a very wrong time.)”
Kejriwal, whose Aam Aadmi party was born out of an anti-corruption mass movement two years ago, has pledged to give free water to households in Delhi and slash their electricity bills.
He has more than 961,000 followers on Twitter and regularly tweets to share his views.
His latest comments were an instant hit on Twitter, with plenty of offers of sympathy – but also some suggestions for a little privacy.
“When the Chief Minister gives you minute by minute update on his bowel movements…Hail democracy,” said a Congress party spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi.
“Will Arvind Kejriwal pass the motion? That is the question we are asking tonight,” said television editor Ritupana Chatterjee.
“Wow you’re such a wonderful Aam Aadmi CM. talking publicly about loose motions. History is made!” said social worker Suryanarayan Ganesh.
Kejriwal’s party also asked wellwishers and supporters in a tweet to stop flocking to his home, saying he needed to rest.
Kejriwal’s party agreed to lead the Delhi government with outside support from the Congress party which rules nationally but was pushed to a distant third place at the Delhi elections.
Kejriwal’s stunning electoral debut at the December 4 polls jolted Congress and the main opposition party Bharatiya Janata Party just months before the general election due by May.