India’s most famous muffler is about to make its return

Quartz india
Quartz india

With the mercury dropping in New Delhi and assembly elections now likely early next year, India’s most famous scarf—or muffler, to be precise—is set to make its return to the capital city.

It first attained stardom last winter when its owner, Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal, campaigned assiduously to win 28 of Delhi’s 70 assembly constituencies. A stunned political establishment watched as the muffler-clad, first-time candidate took oath as the state’s chief minister.

And it stayed mostly coiled around Kejriwal’s neck or wrapped around his head for the next 48 days, before he resigned as chief minister—an act he later termed as a mistake.

That error in judgment—along with Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party’s unstoppable rise since—could mean that Kejriwal will have a harder time convincing Delhi voters that he and the Aam Aadmi Party are still their best choice this time around.

The unprecedented media attention and public adulation that he received last winter would probably be diminished this year. Yet, he will still hopefully own—and wear—India’s most famous muffler.

Quartz takes you through a photographic journey of Kejriwal’s rise and fall, almost always accompanied by his iconic piece of winter clothing.

Arvind Kejriwal, leader of the newly formed Aam Aadmi (Common Man) Party, shows his ink-stained finger after casting his vote at a polling station in New Delhi December 4, 2013.
Arvind Kejriwal shows his ink-stained finger after casting his vote at a polling station in New Delhi on Dec. 4, 2013. (Reuters/Vijay Mathur)
India’s Aam Aadmi, or Common Man’s Party, executive Arvind Kejriwal waves to his supporters as he leaves after meeting Lt. Governor of Delhi Najeeb Jung in New Delhi, India, Monday, Dec. 23, 2013. The new political party pledging to sweep corruption from Indian politics announced Monday that it will form a government in the capital city. Kejriwal, a former civil servant turned politician will be the new chief minister of Delhi.
Kejriwal waves to his supporters as he leaves after meeting Lt. Governor of Delhi Najeeb Jung on Dec. 23, 2013. The new political party announced that it will form the government in the capital city. (AP Photo)
Arvind Kejriwal, leader of Aam Aadmi (Common Man) Party (AAP), shouts slogans after taking the oath as the new chief minister of Delhi during a swearing-in ceremony at Ramlila grounds in New Delhi December 28, 2013. REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee (INDIA - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS) - RTX16VM0
A muffler-less Kejriwal shouts slogans after taking the oath as the new chief minister of Delhi on Dec. 28, 2013. (Reuters/Anindito Mukherjee)
In this late Monday, Jan. 20, 2014 photograph, New Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, covers himself with a thick blanket to protect from the cold as he rests during a demonstration against the police in New Delhi, India. For a decade, Kejriwal has tilted at India's many windmills. He has led protests and hunger strikes against government corruption.But now he is the top official of the Indian capital, an activist suddenly elevated to power. And just a little over a month after his surprise win in city elections, he has launched yet another protest. Even if it's not always clear what he is demanding.
The then New Delhi chief minister covers himself with a thick blanket as he rests during a demonstration against the police in New Delhi on Jan. 20, 2014. (AP Photo)
New Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, center, scarf around face, is escorted by supporters and police during a demonstration against the police in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014. Kejriwal, who created and leads the Aam Aadmi, or Common Man's Party has accused the police force of targeting the poor for petty offenses and refusing to combat serious crime.
Kejriwal, center, during a demonstration against the police in New Delhi on Jan. 21, 2014. He accused the police force of targeting the poor for petty offences and refusing to combat serious crime. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
Kejriwal, right, rests inside his Indian-made Maruti WagonR car during a demonstration on Jan. 21, 2014.
Kejriwal, right, rests inside his Indian-made Maruti WagonR car during a demonstration on Jan. 21, 2014. The activist-turned-politician shunned most official privileges, including a government car. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
New Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, center, announces calling off a demonstration against the police in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014. Kejriwal, who created and leads the Aam Aadmi, or Common Man's Party had accused the police force of targeting the poor for petty offenses and refusing to combat serious crime.
Kejriwal, center, announces calling off a demonstration against the police in New Delhi on Jan. 21, 2014. (AP Photo / Tsering Topgyal)
Anti-graft activist Arvind Kejriwal, center, addresses his supporters with resignation letter in his hand at Aam Aadmi Party, or Common Man’s Party, headquarters in New Delhi, India, Friday, Feb. 14, 2014. Kejriwal quit Friday as the top elected official in the New Delhi state government after lawmakers blocked the introduction of a bill to create a strong ombudsman in the Indian capital
Kejriwal, center, addresses his supporters with the resignation letter in his hand at Aam Aadmi Party headquarters in New Delhi on Feb. 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)
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