It is not often, if at all, that you see a Chief Minister standing to the side at an inauguration ceremony.
The one hogging the limelight at the inauguration of the renovated Palika Maternity Hospital at Lodhi Colony on Saturday was 60-year-old Vijay Baba, a rickshaw puller. He cut the ribbon, while Kejriwal applauded.
With that, Baba became the first ‘common man’ to have his name engraved on the inauguration stone as guest of honour, followed by chief guest Arvind Kejriwal and Member of Parliament Ajay Maken.
When New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) requested Kejriwal to inaugurate the hospital, he expressed a desire that it be done by a common man.
“It was a nice gesture and the organising committee agreed,” NDMC chairman Jalaj Srivastava said. He said it was Kejriwal who suggested Vijay Baba’s name.
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Vijay Baba, who has been living in Delhi for the last 50 years, could not believe his ears when the CM’s office informed him about the inauguration plans.
“Never in my dreams had I thought that I would be inaugurating a hospital with the Chief Minister by my side. It is a big honour,” Baba said.
Though the action is in keeping with the AAP’s tradition of doing away with the VIP culture, the opposition was quick to dismiss it as party promotion.
“We are glad that a common man is doing the inauguration but the AAP should stop making noble acts dramatic. They should know the difference between an aam aadmi and a party supporter,” Delhi BJP chief Vijay Goel said.
Baba has been a staunch supporter of AAP since 2012 . Kejriwal himself had called out his name from the party’s stage on several occasions. With inputs from PTI