Kejriwal to make Delhi corruption-free
NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 14
Sounding more mature and pragmatic in his second innings, AAP leader and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Saturday vowed to make Delhi the country’s first corruption-free city and end “VIP culture” even as he warned party colleagues against “arrogance” after the AAP’s thumping victory. Addressing an estimated 100,000 cheering supporters at the Ramlila Maidan – he had made a special appeal over radio to people to come – after being sworn in, Kejriwal also sought statehood for Delhi, saying Prime Minister Narendra Modi had too many issues to take care of and that Delhi must be left to Delhiites.
And in comments that drew a positive response, the Aam Aadmi Party leader — sporting his party’s white cap with the words “Main hoon aam aadmi” (I am a common man) — reached out to his vanquished rivals, Kiran Bedi of the BJP and Ajay Maken of the Congress, saying he would consult both on how to develop Delhi. He described Kiran Bedi as his “elder sister”.
“After our (earlier) 49 days in office, we have the confidence that we will finish off corruption in Delhi,” the 46-year-old said to loud cheers. “We have to make Delhi the first corruption-free city in India. We can do it.”
And repeating the lines from his Ramlila Maidan speech of 2013, Kejriwal urged people to covertly record on their mobile phones demands for bribes by officials and send the recording to him. “We will take the strictest action,” he said, triggering another roar of approval.
Kejriwal said a Helpline number he had announced in his first stint would be restarted — for people to complain about corruption. His government would also pass the Jan Lokpal bill.
The huge gathering packing the sprawling ground in the heart of the capital went wild as he took the oath of office and secrecy from Lt Governor Najeeb Jung — followed by six ministers — and then addressed them in Hindi. The six included his long-time confidant Manish Sisodia, who will be the deputy chief minister, Satyendra Jain, Sandeep Kumar, Gopal Rai, Asim Ahmad Khan and Jitendra Singh Tomar. Sisodia and Jain were in the earlier Kejriwal government too.
Speaking from his heart, Kejriwal admitted that the AAP’s decision to contest the 2014 Lok Sabha election — he himself took on Modi in Varanasi and lost — was a blunder. He urged his ministers, legislators and AAP colleagues never to show arrogance, saying this is what which destroyed the Congress and the BJP. “If arrogance creeps in, we will not be able to fulfil our mission.”
Proud that one of our volunteers has become Delhi CM: Anna Hazare
Anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare today greeted Arvind Kejriwal and said he is proud that one of his volunteers has become the Chief Minister of Delhi.
“I had congratulated Arvind on the counting day as well. I again congratulate him for having taken oath as the Chief Minister. I am proud that one of our volunteers has formed the government in Delhi,” Hazare told reporters here.
“Those who will run the government now, I have full faith that they will make Delhi a corruption free city and a model city, which will later form an example for the entire nation.
“They worked for years with us and have now become the Chief Minister and ministers. I had earlier also said, whether Bedi wins or Kejriwal, both of them have been our volunteers,” he added.
Kejriwal, a former Team-Anna member, had extended an invitation to Hazare for the swearing-in ceremony at the historic Ramlila Maidan, which was the venue for Hazare’s anti-graft campaign over three years ago.
He, however, did not attend the ceremony. Hazare had also skipped Kejriwal’s swearing-in ceremony when he became Delhi chief minister for the first time in 2013. After a long association in the anti-corruption movement, the two drifted apart when Kejriwal decided to launch his political outfit Aam Aadmi Party against Hazare’s wishes.