From Kharagpur to Ramlila Maidan, via the world

Arvind KejriwalKharagpur to Ramlila Maidan. Partha Paul & PTI

Among the thousands who turned up for Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal's swearing-in ceremony on Saturday were some of his hostel mates and batchmates from IIT-Kharagpur. Those who knew him as a "quiet" student with a "flair for dramatics".

They came from all over — Kolkata, Hyderabad, Dubai, United States, Bangkok — to watch their fellow IITian take oath as the Delhi Chief Minister. Some had studied with him, while others had shared the same hostel.

He was "just another guy at the college canteen", said friend and batchmate Sujit Bhattacharya, a Delhi resident. "He was simple and peaceful. Never got into trouble and had a flair for dramatics... No girlfriends as far as I can remember," he added.

Another fellow IITian, Saikat Sarkar, came from Kolkata for the occasion. "He did not have any of this revolutionary streak when he passed out of the institute to join TISCO. Joining the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) is what changed him," said Sarkar, who stayed in the same hostel — Nehru Hall — at IIT-Kharagpur.

The group of friends met Kejriwal at his residence on Friday night, on the eve of the swearing-in ceremony. "He didn't exhibit any anxiety or nervousness... We are extremely happy for him. How often can you say that your friend is a chief minister?" said Sarkar.

Subroto Saha, who flew in from Dubai to be with Kejriwal before the elections, was back for the swearing-in. "As soon as we heard about the AAP's decision to form the government, we decided to come to Delhi to attend the ceremony," he said.

A mechanical engineering student, Kejriwal was in IIT-Kharagpur from 1985-1989.

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