‘Aam Admi’ Kejriwal takes oath as Delhi CM
New Delhi: Arvind Kejriwal, whose AAP has rewritten the grammar of politics in Delhi and may possibly do so elsewhere, today took oath as Delhi Chief Minister promising a corruption-free government and new style of governance without arrogance of power.
45-year-old Kejriwal, a former revenue service official, who broke from Anna Hazare’s campaign for Lokpal and scored a stunning debut in electoral politics winning 28 of the 70 seats, took the oath of office and secrecy at a public ceremony in the historic Ramlila Maidan, the fast venue of the anti-graft campaigners more than two years ago.
Along with Kejriwal, six others Manish Sisodia, Girish Soni, Rakhi Birla, Satyendra Jain, Saurabh Bharadwaj and Somnath Bharti took oath as ministers administered by Lt Governor Najeeb Jung.
Sporting his trademark Gandhi cap proclaiming that “I am an aam admi’, Kejriwal wore a blue pullover over bush shirt and trousers discarding the traditional ‘kurta-pyjama’ of politicians.
Hazare and his associate Kiran Bedi, who were invited to the function, kept away from it as did several political leaders including outgoing Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.
BJP leader Harsh Vardhan, who would be the Leader of the Opposition in the new Assembly, was the lone prominent politician to be present. Kejriwal even praised him as an honest person. Shoiab Iqbal, JD(U) MLA, was also present.
In a short speech after the formalities were over, Kejriwal said the Aam Admi Party has come with a promise to provide governance different from the one given by corrupt parties.
Asserting that it is a very historic day, Kejriwal said, “The oath we are taking today is not of Arvind Kejriwal and the other ministers but people of Delhi have taken the oath.
“The whole fight is not to make Arvind Kejriwal a Chief Minister but it is for a change of governance in Delhi”.
The new Chief Minister said the huge responsibility thrust upon him has instilled a sense of fear in him. “I don’t claim to have a magic wand or remedies for all the ills but if the 1.5 crore people of Delhi join him there is no reason why all the problems can’t be solved,” he said.
Asking his ministers to adopt service as a motto, Kejriwal cautioned them against getting arrogant with power.
“We should not get arrogant. Don’t get arrogant ever. Work for the people with service as the goal. We have not come here to become ministers. We were born to remove the arrogance of big parties. We should be wary that no other party has to take birth to dismantle us,” he said.
Making anti-corruption his main plank, the new Chief Minister asked people not to turn away officials asking bribes but to help in catching them red-handed by laying a trap.
Conscious of the minority status of his government, he appealed to all the parties including the BJP and Congress to support his government in all its right steps. However, he made it clear that he was not bothered about the confidence vote the government has to face by January 3, saying he is ready to face the people if it is defeated.
“We will get back to power with a thumping majority,” hesaid to a thunderous applause from the huge crowd that had gathered from the capital and the surrounding areas in the National Capital Region.
Talking about his mentor Anna Hazare, Kejriwal said, “Anna used to say that politics is dirty. Two-and-a-half years back, Annaji held a 13-day fast to remove corruption and to get the Janlokpal bill passed.
“In these last two years, we did every possible thing. We fasted, agitated but nothing happened. Gradually it became clear that without changing country’s politics we cannot get rid of corruption,” he said.
“I used to suggest Anna that if we want to clean the system, then we will have to get down in this ‘dirty politics’,” he said
“Two years ago we could not think of such a revolution that we could remove corrupt parties. But its nature’s miracle. It is only a beginning,” he said.
Riding on AAP’s success in Delhi, he said, “In the next five years if we take the right steps I think India can become a golden bird”.
Flaunting his ‘aam admi’ (common man) credentials, Kejriwal, who lives in a modest flat in Kaushambi in Ghaziabad district of Uttar Pradesh, took a metro train to Delhi to reach Barakhamba station, a distance of 20 kms from where he drove in his Maruti car to Ramlila Maidan.
Straight from the oath ceremony, Kejriwal went to Rajghat, the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi, a short distance away and paid homage.
Born in Siwani in Haryana, Kejriwal becomes the second youngest Chief Minister of Delhi. Chaudhry Brahm Prakash was the youngest Chief Minsiter at 34 when he took over in 1952.