Kejriwal to take oath as CM on Saturday, says no rift in party
Arvind Kejriwal, who led Aam Admi Party to a spectacular victory in the assembly polls ending Congress’ 15-year rule, will take oath as Delhi’s seventh Chief Minister
New Delhi: Arvind Kejriwal, who led Aam Admi Party to a spectacular victory in the assembly polls ending Congress’ 15-year rule, will take oath as Delhi’s seventh Chief Minister on Saturday at historic Ramlila Maidan, the venue of Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement.
A Magsaysay award winner, 45-year-old Kejriwal and six other AAP MLAs will be sworn-in in a public ceremony at 12 PM to which Anna Hazare, Kiran Bedi, Santosh Hegde and all those associated with the anti-corruption movement will be invited.
The date for the swearing-in ceremony was finalised at a meeting Kejriwal held with Chief Secretary D M Spolia.
The cabinet ministers to take oath along with Kejriwal are Manish Sisodia, Rakhi Birla, Somnath Bharti, Saurabh Bhardwaj, Girish Soni and Satendra Jain.
Born in Haryana and a resident of Kausambi in nearby Ghaziabad district of Uttar Pradesh, the IIT-Kharagpur graduate in Mechanical Engineering, had defeated three-time Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit in New Delhi constituency by a huge margin of over 25,000 votes.
Earlier, talking to media, Kejriwal denied having any rift within the party on the issue of cabinet berths.
Kejriwal asserted that AAP has not firmed up an alliance with Congress as the support given by it was based on its 18-point agenda. There has been dissenting voices in Congress over support to AAP.
He indicated that a number of announcements will be made on fulfilling key promises of the party like cutting power tariff and ordering auditing of the private power distribution companies immediately after assuming charge.
A day after Laxmi Nagar MLA Binny, a ministerial aspirant, walked out of a meeting at Kejriwal’s house after coming to know that he was not among the probable ministers, Kejriwal said the legislator was not interested in a ministerial berth.
“Binny came to me last evening. He told me he does not want a ministerial berth and that he was here for a mission. Binny said he has conveyed to the media that he was not upset,” said Kejriwal.
Binny, on his part, stated that he was not angry and that there was no rift in the party. “There is no rift between me and the party. There is nothing that I was angry about after being denied a post in the ministry,” he told PTI.
Kejriwal had met Lt Governor Najeeb Jung on Monday and handed over him a letter staking claim to form government with outside support from the Congress.
Following this, Jung had sent a proposal to President Pranab Mukherjee detailing AAP’s stake to form the government. The President approved the proposal yesterday and left it to the Lt Governor to finalise the date for swearing-in ceremony in consultation with the Chief Minister-designate.
A press release issued by Delhi Government said the President has directed that Kejriwal be asked to prove his majority on the floor of the House within seven days from the date on which he takes oath of office.
“The President of India has been pleased to appoint Arvind Kejriwal, Leader of the Aam Aadmi Legislature Party as Chief Minister of the National Capital Territory of Delhi with effect from the date he is sworn in,” it said.
It said the President has also appointed Sisodia, Bharti, Jain, Birla, Soni and Bhardwaj to be the Ministers with effect from the date they are sworn in.
One-year-old AAP had made an electrifying debut in elections winning 28 seats in the 70-member Assembly and decimating Congress which bagged only eight seats. The BJP, along with its ally SAD’s one seat, had 32 MLAs but the party declined to form the government, citing lack of majority.
Kejriwal said he was working on portfolios to be given to six MLAs whose names were recommended to Lt Governor to be included in his cabinet.
He said auditing of private power distribution companies, and supply of 700 liters of water free to all homes are the focus areas.
“We will work on the supply of water within 24 hours. Every colony has its own problems. We are also working on the reduction in power tariff,” he said.
The AAP leader reiterated that his party has no alliance or coalition with anyone. “We are with all those lawmakers of Delhi who think that the problems of Delhi should be put to an end.”
Meanwhile, newly-appointed Delhi Congress Chief Arvinder Singh said AAP should not resort to political vendetta.
“If the AAP tries to do things with vendetta, then definitely we will raise our voice. We are not reviewing support to AAP,” he said.
Congress spokesperson Sandeep Dikshit also said the party will not go back on the issue of its support to AAP for government formation.
“We are supporting the manifesto of AAP at least in the coming time or whatever we have committed to the Lieutenant Governor. The party will stand by it,” he told reporters here.