|TV garb of Sunita and Arvind Kejriwal after Delhi victory, 2015|
Sunita Kejriwal, 1993-batch Indian Revenue Service (I-T) officer and wife of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has taken voluntary retirement from the service. The Central Board of Direct Tax (CBDT) processed her application and okayed the VRS with effect from July 15. Mrs Kejriwal, 51, is now posted as Commissioner of I-T in the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) in Delhi, and will now be eligible for her pension benefits as she completed 20 years of service in the government. Will Sunita Kejriwal who had a tough time balancing her role as a wife of an activist-politician and a Central government officer, actually…join the Aam Aadmi Party? There is no confirmation regarding her next move, but one thing is sure that she will no longer need to worry about the government conduct rules, and she will be able to openly help her husband Kejriwal, now planning to expand the party to states of Punjab, Goa and Gujarat.
When Kejriwal fought against the then BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in Varanasi Lok Sabha seat in 2014 general elections, Sunita Kejriwal also camped in that holy city of Uttar Pradesh. But she did not come out in any of the campaigns as it would have been against service rules of government officers. According to AAP volunteers who were present in Varanasi, she did the role of a wife rather than helping Kejriwal politically.
The only occasion when Sunita Kejriwal came out openly was when AAP secured an overwhelming mandate in 2015 Delhi elections by winning 67 of 70 assembly seats. As Kejriwal gave his victory speech to thousands of his followers, she was seen by the side of her husband and other AAP leaders including Kumar Vishwas and Ashutosh et al. (See the photograph used here).
"Thank u Sunita for always being there”, Arvind Kejriwal, who was also a revenue services officer before resigning from the government twitted after the victory in Delhi poll. His message addressed to his wife was accompanied by two photographs, in one Kejriwal was seen hugging his wife.
In fact, Arvind and Sunita had a courtship while undergoing training at National Academy of Direct Taxes at Nagpur in 1994. Kejriwal’s straightforwardness is what had impressed Sunita, according to media reports published earlier.
They got engaged in August 1994 when they were still at the Nagpur Academy. And they tied the knot in November, 1995.
Sunita Kejriwal has preferred to remain low-key, something that has helped her survive in the service in the last five years. During the Anna movement against corruption, Kejriwal and his men were targeting the entire system including the top union ministers like finance minister Pranab Mukherjee.
Remember, the CBDT that comes under the finance ministry, controls the IRS cadre.
When Kejriwal’s activism had peaked before he jumped into politics, Sunita Kejriwal went on a deputation to the Serious Frauds Investigation Office (SFIO), a government agency that comes under the ministry of corporate affairs, and not ministry of finance.
She could somehow remain outside of any major controversy though there was an accusation that she managed her postings only in Delhi and NCR.
Further, when Kejriwal in a radio advertisement in November 2013, had claimed that he could have made crores of rupees as an income-tax commissioner, the IRS Association strongly objected to his statement dragging his wife too. It was said in the statement that Kejriwal was “unnecessarily damaging the image of this fine service” while reminding him that his wife was still a member of the department.
Now, the big question is: will Sunita Kejriwal join politics now? Will she also lend her voice on critical issues of national importance, something that she had avoided so far because she was part of the Central government?