Kharagpur: When AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal took oath as Delhi Chief Minister on Saturday, students at his alma mater here, IIT Kharagpur, where politics was once taboo, celebrated it donning `Aam Aadmi` caps and promising to be part of the change.
"Never underestimate power of a common man. Feeling proud being a small part of this political revolution ... Congrats to all Kgp janta," read a message posted on two AAP pages devoted to IIT Kgp.
Three decades ago when Kejriwal known as `Kejri` studied B.Tech in mechanical engineering at the institute, politics was taboo among students, but the political success of Delhi?s new chief minister has made it a hot topic.
Rajeev Saraf, one of Kejriwal`s best friends from college days, told a news agency, "Politics was the last thing on anyone`s mind at IIT. Besides our career, we had fun watching movies, going out with friends and playing with them."
Saraf, who now runs a software company in Delhi, said it was necessary that politics should become a part of the discourse at the IIT campus.
MTech student Ritesh Singh who had opted out of placements last year to work for AAP said, "Nobody used to talk politics.
"But slowly after the India Against Corruption movement began in Delhi, some of us got involved and then the whole process took off. Now politics is a hot topic in the campus."
“The election success of AAP took matters to another level as Singh said he was now getting feelers from IIT students ready to join the party and there were already more than 500 students from the institute who had enrolled as AAP volunteers."I know many of them are seriously thinking. They
helped me to design posters and maintain party website. And, now they are getting more serious," Singh said.
Proud of having taught Kejriwal, Prof Sankar Kumar Som, former director of IIT Kgp, said "It is because of the inherent intelligence of our students and the holistic education we provide that many of our students like Kejriwal achieve the pinnacle of success."
Atal Ashutosh, a second year student of marine engineering, was another IIT student who was involved in campaigning for AAP throughout November.
"Kejriwal is showing us the way forward. He is an honest man trying to change India and we all are supporting the cause," he said.
The Magsaysay awardee was given the distinguished alumni award by the IIT in 2009 for his work as an RTI activist.
In his PAN IIT 2011 speech, Kejriwal had recollected how IIT Kharagpur shaped him as a person saying, "I think that was the most critical period of my life.
"Whatever I learnt at IIT has stayed with me...The entire culture, environment has laid the foundation in my life...And I am very grateful to my alma mater."