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From Kejriwal's Confidant to 'BJP Stooge': Kapil Mishra's Journey in AAP

File photo of sacked AAP minister Kapil Mishra.

File photo of sacked AAP minister Kapil Mishra.

Kapil Mishra, one of the leading faces of AAP till a few days back, is no stranger to controversies.

New Delhi: A week, they say, is a long time in politics. In case of Aam Aadmi Party, a weekend seems to be long enough to turn things around.

At 1:30 pm on Monday, the party held a press briefing, calling Kapil Mishra, who was Delhi's water minister till Friday, a stooge of Bharatiya Janata Party.

Mishra, on the other hand, was seen smiling outside the office of anti-corruption bureau, holding an envelope, which, he said, had the complaint against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Mishra has accused Kejriwal of accepting Rs 2 crore ‘illegal cash’ from PWD and health minister Satyendar Jain.

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It turns out, Mishra, one of the leading faces of AAP till a few days back, is no stranger to controversies. He is known to have a penchant for passing statements which make for headlines.

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Armed with a master’s degree in social work from Delhi School of Social Work, the 36-year-old joined the Anna Hazare-led India Against Corruption (IAC) movement. He is also the founder of Youth for Justice - a Delhi-based youth action group and has even authored a book Common v/s Wealth on the Commonwealth Games scam.

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He was considered one of Kejriwal’s trusted lieutenants and he quickly climbed the ladder in the party. In 2015 Assembly polls, Mishra went on to win the Karawal Nagar seat by over a staggering 40,000 votes. His image as a promising and effective young leader won him a place in Kejriwal’s Cabinet to fulfil the key poll promise of providing water for all. Interestingly, he stood out in his swearing-in ceremony as he took oath in Sanskrit.

Mishra, in return, was always seen defending Kejriwal at every possible instance. “Mishra was one of first people who backed Kejriwal when things went downhill with Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan. He was one of his most trusted men,” said a former senior AAP leader, on condition of anonymity.

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Apart from water ministry, Mishra was entrusted with law ministry when the then minister Jitender Singh Tomar was arrested by Delhi Police. However, the additional position was withdrawn a few months later.

In his tenure as water minister, Mishra had repeatedly raked up the Rs 400 crore water tanker scam, which alleges erstwhile Sheila Dikshit-led government of irregularities in hiring 385 private water tankers to supply water in areas without access to piped water.

AAP formed a panel in August 2015, which submitted its report to the Kejriwal-led government and concluded that there were massive irregularities while awarding tenders.

The report recommended filing an FIR against former Delhi CM by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB). The report was also submitted to the then lieutenant-governor Najeeb Jung, who had forwarded the same to ACB.

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This was again brought up by Mishra on the day he was sacked. He is believed to have told ACB chief MK Meena that he had ‘new facts’ into the scam.

But the timing of Mishra’s allegations has taken many within AAP by surprise. On Sunday, one AAP MLA was quick to question Mishra’s loyalties. “His mother Annapurna Mishra is one of the top BJP leaders in the national capital. How can one ignore that?”

Interestingly, Mishra, has earlier been in the line of fire after he called Prime Minister Narendra Modi an ‘ISI agent’. “Do we have an ISI agent as PM now? It’s very serious the way PM is surrendering to anti-India forces?” he had tweeted last year.

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More recently, Mishra had targeted Yogi Adityanath-led UP government over moral policing, saying that Romeo and Juliet were welcome to Delhi. “Romeo and Juliet are welcome in the city and there would be no Mogambo. We are a flexible society. People who invaded and made an attempt to destroy our culture eventually blended in,” he had said.
Mishra’s affair with AAP has, however, gone sour. All eyes, and cameras, are curiously waiting for his next move.