|Arvind Kejriwal addressing people on Thursday (Pic: AP)|
Saturday, December 28, 2013
Debutant party chief sworn-in as Delhi chief minister
NEW DELHI (AA) - Wearing his traditional Nehru-cap, 45-year old former bureaucrat-turned politician Arvind Kejriwal, head of the newcomer Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) or Common Man’s Party, was sworn in on Saturday as Delhi’s youngest chief minister at Ramlila public park in Delhi as a massive crowd of nearly 100,000 people including party workers cheered him.
Kejriwal, whose party AAP made spectacular electoral debut in Delhi elections of December 4, rode the Delhi metro to the swearing-in ceremony at the historic public park signifying his party’s promise of “ending the VIP culture” of India’s political capital.
Saturday’s oath-taking ceremony was held at the public park on the request of Kejriwal as he wanted “common man” to attend the function. Kejriwal was sworn-in as chief minister by Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung.
1600 policemen were on guard as thousands of party workers and supporters cheered and waved brooms, AAP’s election symbol, as Kejriwal made a soul-stirring speech vowing to serve the people.
“I appeal to my party let us never become arrogant,” Kejriwal said.
“We are here to serve,” he said.
Kejriwal, whose party emerged as a new ray of hope against rampant corruption in government, swore that he and his party will never offer or seek bribe.
“Let us swear that we will never seek nor offer a bribe,” Kejriwal thundered as thousands of supporters including common men and women roared in assent.
Kejriwal said that Saturday’s swearing-in ceremony was like every common man has become chief minister of Delhi.
He termed the recent Delhi election as “miraculous” and “revolutionary” stressing that politics can de done with “honesty” and “integrity.
“Till now we used to think that India cannot be saved from corruption but today the people of Delhi have shown that elections and politics can be done with honesty and integrity,” he said.
Kejriwal said there is no problem that can’t be solved if there is unity.
“There is no problem that we cannot solve if we unite,” he said maintaining that he has no magic wand to solve all the problems.
“We don’t have a magic wand, but Delhi’s 1.5 crores (15 million) people can find a solution to anything,” he asserted.
Kejriwal addressed a press conference soon after assuming charge of chief minister and announced that he would keep important portfolios including Home, Power, Finance and Vigilance.
Kejriwal also reaffirmed his belief that he and his ministers won’t need police security and sprawling government bungalows as the “VIP culture” goes against the spirit of common man’s party.
Hours after taking oath, the newly-formed Delhi cabinet decided that no minister or government official will be allowed to carry “red beacon” cars as it signifies “VIP Culture”.
On December 23, in a handwritten letter, Kejriwal had formally notified the Delhi police that he does not need any security.
“I don’t need any security. I don’t need any escort...God is my biggest security,” Kejriwal had written in the letter.
Delhi police chief had written to Kejriwal that as a protocol they are bound to provide him top layer ‘Z’ security.
AAP made a spectacular debut in Delhi elections by winning 28 of 70 seats in the new Assembly, whose elections results were declared on December 8. BJP emerged as the single largest party with 31 seats but refused to form a government as it was short of a majority. AAP formed the government with the external support of eight Congress lawmakers.
AAP was born out of a country-wide anti-corruption movement spearheaded under the leadership of Gandhian social crusader Anna Hazare which demanded strong anti-corruption legislation against elected representatives and public officials. Kejriwal, a former income tax commissioner, rose to prominence in recent years as the ‘right-hand’ of Hazare.Both Hazare and Kejriwal parted ways after the latter decided to join politics a year ago, citing differences in political views.