Early in the morning, Manish Sisodia was surrounded with a laminated tablet, a dusty white MacBook, and two overused Blackberry phones while he was busy scribbling instructions for his party members two days before the oath-taking ceremony.
“None of our members should sit in the VIP area, let Lieutenant Governor call his VIPs,” he told one of his associates.
The 41-year-old activist-turned-politician is set to be a crucial member of the Arvind Kejriwal cabinet that would take oath on Thursday in Delhi’s Ramlila ground.
In a modest three-bedroom flat at Pandav Nagar in east Delhi, Sisodia lives with his three associates. The house, which was previously in use as an office space for his NGO, has no furniture, but only mattresses, big banners and posters of the Aam Aadmi Party, and a map of his constituency.
“We were like different electrons that were energised,” said Sisodia about his relationship with Kejriwal and other party members.
“Electrons move in their respective orbits, but when they come close to other charged electrons, they club and form a cycle,” he added.
When Sisodia worked as a journalist in Zee News, he was inclined towards social work. “I started working with Arvind in 1999. After that he was in IRS and I was in Zee News. In 2005 I quit,” he said.
Sisodia shot to prominence during Anna Hazare’s movement for Janlokpal Bill in 2011. He was an unofficial spokesperson for the movement, a role that continued after Kejriwal-led group formed a political party.
He defeated BJP’s Nakul Bhardwaj by over 11,000 votes from Patparganj constituency in east Delhi.
In his new role as a politician, Sisodia says his “capacity to do social service would multiply manifold”.
The toughest time in their campaign, Sisodia says, came when a sting operation on some AAP leaders went public. “I thought how is it possible that some of our key associates could do this,” he said and added, “Being a TV journalist helped (to figure it).”
He explained how he felt that the tapes were doctored and why he wrote to the Election Commission requesting to examine the raw footage.