Arvind Kejriwal, the newly-named chief minister of Delhi, spent his first hours after taking his oath of office on Saturday with the city’s heads of police, gas and water departments, before driving himself home in his blue Wagon-R, a compact car favored by the middle class. Kejriwal, the head of the India’s new “Aam Aadmi” or “Common Man” party, is waging war against Delhi’s “VIP culture,” and has rejected the typical security, British colonial-era bungalow and chauffeur-driven white car generally bestowed to Delhi’s top officials.
Then on Monday, the start of his first official week of work, Kejriwal was stricken with that most common of Indian maladies, Delhi belly, a fact that he openly told his nearly 1 million Twitter followers, while lamenting that he would not make it into the office.
Perhaps it is fitting that Kejriwal has come down with, and unashamedly admitted to, a malady that not only regularly undercuts productivity in India’s offices, but also threatens the long-term health of millions in India, where about 65% of households don’t have access to clean running water or safe sewage disposal. Despite his illness, his party is expected to announce today it will start distributing 700 liters of free water to every household in the city, a move that could go far to eliminate a lot of sick days in Delhi’s future.