Now that Kejriwal's newish party is not bogged down in one state, it has a better chance of utilizing its limited resources to fight a national campaign. It covets a share of India's urban constituencies, which account for 200 of the 543 seats up for grabs, and where Kejriwal's promises of anti-bribery hotlines, free water and cheap electricity - pledges he fulfilled in Delhi - are most likely to resonate. While he won't have the numbers to form his own government, he can make it harder for Modi to do so.
Kejriwal's ascent is bad news for business. The outgoing chief minister has reversed the previous administration's decision to allow foreign-owned malls in Delhi. The activist-turned-politician has also accused Reliance Industries, its chairman Mukesh Ambani, and India's oil minister, of creating an artificial gas shortage - a charge they deny. At the same time, Kejriwal has threatened to cancel Mukesh's younger brother Anil Ambani's license to distribute power in Delhi.
These scraps are partly political theatre, and partly well-calculated moves to retain the support of the liberal intelligentsia, which has become disillusioned by the Kejriwal administration's fiscal recklessness and its penchant for vigilante justice. This included a midnight raid on an alleged drugs and prostitution racket, during which some Ugandan women were humiliated.
With elections near, expect Kejriwal to do more of what he does best: agitate. It remains unclear just how many voters will respond to his anti-establishment message. What's obvious though is that the strident notes will make investors reach for earplugs.
* Arvind Kejriwal, the leader of the Aam Aadmi, or Common Man Party, resigned as chief minister of the Delhi state on Feb. 14, bringing to an end a 49-day government that gave residents free water, cheaper power and a helpline for whistleblowers to report bribery.
* It also reversed the previous administration's decision to allow foreign-owned retail stores in the national capital. Kejriwal decided to propose fresh polls after failing to win opposition lawmakers' support to introduce anti-graft legislation.