Among the supporters who travelled to Delhi the second time in exactly a year to support CM Arvind Kejriwal at his swearing-in was a group of at least 15 of his batchmates from IIT Kharagpur. Many who travelled from Dubai, Kolkata and Bhubaneshwar have supported Kejriwal through his campaign in the last few months, while others flew in just to cheer their friend “Kejri”.
His wing-mate in the Nehru Hall hostel of IIT Kharagpur, Subroto Saha, who travelled from Dubai, said “Kejri” had always been “very enthusiastic” about social causes. “The only real surprise I got was when Kejri joined politics. He had to explain his decision to join politics quite a bit to convince me,” Saha said. Saha recalled how Kejriwal took great interest in the Hindi dramatics society of the college. “It was called the Technology dramatics society and he became a great patron, it was a surprise because otherwise he was a very shy, reserved fellow in college.
Once he joined the society he would keep talking about plays he participated in and read scripts late into the night. I was his wing mate, so basically we were in adjacent beds in the Nehru hall, and I would hear him practicing or working on plays all the time,” he said.
Prasanjit Pati from Bhubaneshwar, who had worked with Kejriwal on his social media campaign, said as wing-mates, Saha and Kejriwal had “shared everything, and you do everything for friendships like these.”
Pati said he remembered the one election Kejriwal fought and won. “He became the mess secretary of our hostel and we were after him to fight with the mess staff to get us good food,” Pati joked.
Pati has been working with Kejriwal for over 6-7 months on the social media campaign for the party. Saikat Sarkar, Kejriwal’s batch-mate who came from Kolkata said “10-15 of his classmates” from IIT had come to attend his last swearing-in a year ago, and now again this year.
“Some have taken membership of AAP formally, others like us just came as old buddies,” Sarkar said.
Suresh Reddy arrived in Delhi form Hyderabad to attend the swearing-in. Remembering him as batch mate and friend he said that he remained in touch with Kejriwal through the campaign and like Kejriwal, was confident of his victory. Besides college, the two were together during their summer training at Maruti at Gurgaon in 1988.